LAMOINE — With double the number of voters the town usually sees in a Town Meeting election, two incumbent selectmen were defeated by narrow margins March 8.
Selectmen Nathan Mason and Bernard Johnson lost their seats to Robert Christie and Kathleen Rybarz.
The vote was Christie, 221; Rybarz, 206; Johnson, 199 and Mason, 194.
“There was a 30 percent turnout,” said Deputy Town Clerk Stu Marckoon. “We’re usually lucky to get 15 percent.”
Marckoon characterized the campaign as “spirited,” leading to an unusual amount of interest among voters.
Christie, who ran in the last election but was defeated, said the issue went beyond the candidates’ stance on the gravel interests in town.
The town in recent years approved changes limiting the scope of mining in permitted gravel pits.
Voters also decided to prohibit the issuance of new permits for much of the remaining land in town.
“It’s bigger than the gravel,” Christie said. “We need to include more people in discussions than we have in some time.”
Mason said the fact that the vote was close reflects the split in town on which direction Lamoine should be headed in the days ahead.
“I think both Bernie and I did what we were asked to do and did so to the best of our ability,” he said.
Asked if the vote reflected pro-and anti-gravel interests, Mason said he thought that was one factor but that overall the town had moved beyond that.
“I think that had some play in it,” he said. “There are different groups in town that put boots on the ground to drum up support to get candidates in who support more restrictions on gravel.”