Mana Abdi unopposed in bid to be first Somali-American legislator in Maine

Sep. 7—LEWISTON — The recent withdrawal of a controversial Republican candidate for a state House seat leaves Democrat Mana Abdi without opposition in her bid to become Maine's first Somali-American legislator.

Fred Sanborn-Silvers, who once posted on Facebook that Muslims "should not be allowed to hold public office," withdrew from the race Aug. 18, according to the Secretary of State's office.

His departure came too late for Republicans to appoint another candidate in the 95th District contest, which includes part of Lewiston.

Abdi, a Muslim, said she is pressing ahead with knocking on doors in the district to meet her future constituents. She said she's going to wait until November for any victory celebration.

It is not clear why Sanborn-Silvers quit the race.

After his social media posts blasting many Democrats and women politicians, including U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, became public in June, he kept a low profile.

Abdi, born in a refugee camp in Africa, came to the United States at age 13, and attended Lewiston public schools. She graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington and works at the Office of Intercultural Education at Bates College.

Another Somali-American, South Portland Mayor Deqa Dhalac, is also seeking a state House seat in the Nov. 8 general election.