Gale, Aranson lead Democratic primaries for D.A., probate

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PORTLAND — Two contested Democratic primary elections Tuesday could reshape Cumberland County courts and criminal justice.

In the first, attorney Jon Gale led the Democratic primary for Cumberland County district attorney, with attorneys Frayla Tarpinian and Seth Levy trailing in an election that did not use ranked-choice voting.

With 98 percent of precincts counted as of early Wednesday afternoon, the Portland Press Herald reported Gale had 11,594 votes, Tarpinian had 10,424 and Levy had 10,055.

The winner moves on to the Nov. 6 general election, facing Republican Randall Bates and independent Jonathan Sahrbeck.

Bates, an attorney who has also served on the Yarmouth Town Council, was unopposed in the GOP primary. Sahrbeck is currently a Cumberland County assistant district attorney.

The candidates are vying to replace incumbent Republican Stephanie Anderson, who served seven terms and did not seek re-election.

The three-way Democratic race for Cumberland County probate judge is most likely a winner-take-all event, since Republicans did not field any primary candidates.

That shuts the GOP out of the Nov. 6 general election, and no unenrolled candidates met the June 1 state deadline to file nomination papers to run in November.

In that race, also with 98 percent of precincts reporting, attorney Paul Aranson led Charles Kahill and Rubin Segal, 10,603 votes to 9,620 and 8,650, respectively.

Aranson is also a former Cumberland County district attorney; he was replaced by Anderson.

In the remaining county-wide race, incumbent Sheriff Kevin Joyce, a Democrat, was unopposed in his primary election. The Republicans did not field a candidate in the primaries.

The Democrats running for district attorney all promised to change the office and take an approach emphasizing diversion and treatment when possible over incarceration for offenders.

Each of the candidates has been in private practice. Gale has served as an assistant district attorney in Aroostook and York counties, and was an intern in Cumberland County at the beginning of his legal career.

Tarpinian leads the Kennebec County Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse Unit.

While some towns, including Gorham and Windham, hadn’t posted election results on their websites, local returns showed Gale won in Portland and South Portland, while Levy won overwhelmingly in Brunswick, where he has an office.

Tarpinian carried Westbrook with 40 percent of the vote. In that city, Gale received 36 percent of the vote and Levy 24 percent.

Tarpinian also won in Gray.

In the race for judge of probate, Aranson, Kahill and Segal are seeking to replace incumbent Judge Joseph Mazziotti, who did not seek a third term.

In Westbrook, voters chose Aranson, 42 percent, over Kahill, 33 percent, and  Segal, 26 percent.

The Cumberland County Probate Court handles 25 percent of all probate filings in the state, according to the county website. Those filings include last wills and testaments, estate distributions, name changes and adoptions, and guardianships and conservatorships.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Cumberland County District Attorney candidate Jon Gale says hello to voters outside Deering High School in Portland on June 12. Gale led in the three-way party primary for the office with 87 percent of votes counted.

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