Abden Simmons, R-Waldoboro, emerged victorious with 52.22% of the vote in the special election for House District 45 on Tuesday, June 13.
Simmons narrowly defeated Wendy Pieh, D-Bremen, 1,435-1,313, according to unofficial results. House District 45 consists of Bremen, Friendship, Louds Island, Waldoboro, and Washington.
“I want to thank Wendy for running a good clean race,” said Simmons, who learned of his victory from her phone call to congratulate him. “She’s served her community as much as I have … I appreciate the camaraderie between us.”
Simmons also thanked the volunteers who helped him campaign and said he could not have won without them.
Simmons will serve out the remaining portion of the term, which was vacated by Clinton Collamore, of Waldoboro, elected as a Democrat. Collamore resigned the seat in February after pleading not guilty to 33 charges relating to signature fraud in the state’s public campaign funding program.
Collamore admitted to signing donor names himself on forms needed to qualify for taxpayer-funded campaign money through the Maine Clean Election Act, which provides funds to candidates who collect $5 minimum contributions with signatures from at least 60 registered voters in their district.
At his plea date on Monday, June 12, Collamore pleaded guilty to 12 misdemeanor charges; 20 felony charges were dropped by state prosecution. He was sentenced to 72 hours of jail time in the state’s alternative sentencing program and 100 hours of community service.
Simmons was previously elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2016 for a two-year term. He lost his reelection bid to former Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, I-Friendship. In 2022, Simmons ran for the Senate District 13 seat against Cameron Reny, D-Bristol. Reny defeated Simmons 11,944-9,902, according to unofficial results.
Locally, Simmons sat on the Waldoboro Planning Board for six years and is entering his ninth year on the Waldoboro Select Board. He is a 25-year member of the Waldoboro Shellfish Committee and has been its chair for all but two years.
Pieh, who previously served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives, wrote in a letter to editor that while she is disappointed in not to be returning to the House, she has offered her congratulations to Simmons.
Pieh served in the Maine House from 1996-1998, 1998-2000, and 2006-2010. Since 2004, she has also been a member of the Bremen Select Board. She currently serves as the board’s chair, and is seeking reelection at the polls Saturday, June 24.
“While one race is over there is another election on the horizon for Bremen voters,” Pieh said in her letter. “I am seeking reelection because I believe that while much has been accomplished there is work to do.”