In the election on November 2, Brunswick is slated to have one of the closest State Senate races in recent memory, between Democratic incumbent Stanley Gerzofsky, Green Independent Fred Horch and Republican Jennifer Johnson. 

This election cycle is the first since the State Senate and State House of Representatives district lines were redrawn by Chapter 270 of the Public Laws of 2013. The law was signed by Governor Paul LePage on June 14, 2013. District lines were previously redrawn in 1994 and 2003 to reflect changes in the state’s demographics.

Brunswick is now part of State Senate District 24, which includes North Yarmouth, Pownal, Freeport and Harpswell. State House of Representatives Districts 49 and 50 fall completely within the town of Brunswick. A portion of northwestern Brunswick  will vote in District 51, which also includes West Bath. The College falls in District 50.  

The candidates for the State House of Representatives in District 50 are Republican Mark Holbrook and Democrat Ralph Tucker. There is no incumbent in the election this year, as Charles Priest, the current representative, reached the term limit.

Gerzofsky has served three consecutive terms in the Maine State Senate, beginning to 2008. He served in the Maine House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008. 

In 2013, Gerzofsky served as the Chair of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and on the State and Local Government Committee. Much of the legislation that Gerzofsky has introduced has been centered around issues of criminal justice.

According to the Maine State Democrats website, Gerzofsky’s main areas of interest, with regards to policy, are civil liberties and public safety.  

He has voiced his opposition to the tax cuts implemented by the LePage administration, saying that they favored the wealthy. He has also come out in support of raising the minimum wage as long as the relative living conditions in different parts of the state were taken into account. 

Gerzofsky attended the Maine Justice Academy and Pasadena City College. He has worked as a consultant and owned a furniture store from 1965 to 1995.

Horch has a background in business and law and was trained as an attorney. According to his website, his platform focuses on healthcare and social needs, jobs and economic development, state budget and taxes—including having the wealthiest citizens “pay their fair share,”—environment and sustainability, and civil rights and social justice.

In 2010 and 2012, Horch ran as the Green Independent Party candidate for the Maine House of Representatives. 

Horch plans to advocate strongly for renewable energy. He owned and operated F.W. Horch Sustainable Goods and Supplies on Maine Street from 2006 to 2011, before selling it to new owners. 

According to Horch, “[addressing renewable energy] needs to be focused around how you can harness green energy.”

He cites solar and hydroelectric power as some of the potential forms that green energy in Maine could take.

Jennifer Johnson is a single mother of two boys and an owner of Johnson’s Sporting Goods, located in Cook’s Corner. 

According to her website, Johnson’s major concerns are establishing reasonable taxation levels—particularly for small businesses like hers—protecting Second Amendment rights, shying away from big government, and family concerns. 

In previous public forums with her fellow candidates, Johnson has contended that the current welfare system in Maine is broken. She advocates cutting down on fraud and abuse. She has also spoken out against raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, saying that it could prevent businesses from hiring.

Holbrook originally did not want to run for the House, but was encouraged to do so at a Brunswick Republican Town Committee meeting so that Democrat Ralph Tucker would not run uncontested. Holbrook spent two years working behind the scenes on Republican campaigns in Brunswick before this election. 

He did not officially commit himself to the race until Labor Day weekend, but said that he has been  encouraged by the support that he  has received from townsfolk from voters.
“It’s humbling to have people donate,” said Holbrook.

Holbrook’s platform is characterized by three main priorities: family, faith and farms and fisheries. He advocates smaller government, lower taxes and welfare reform and does not support the Affordable Care Act. 

“I would like to see a greater opportunity for faith-based organizations to be a part of the delivery of social services,” Holbrook said, while also acknowledging the importance of the separation of church and state.

Holbrook also advocates the empowerment of women through personal safety training courses, which he has been teaching since 1996. He says that he would like to see such classes made available on college campuses.

“I have a real concern about empowering women and how to do that to prevent them from becoming targets,” said Holbrook. 

Holbrook has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and runs a counseling practice. In addition, he acts as a trainer and consultant for police departments and as an instructor at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

Ralph Tucker is a retired Maine District Court judge. He previously presided over courts in Wiscasset and West Bath. Tucker has also served on the Brunswick Town Council and was appointed to the workers’ compensation board by Governors Brennan and McKernan, spending seven of his 11 years on the board as chair. Tucker was a lawyer and partner with McTeague Higbee Law Firm for 18 years before running for public office. 

Tucker currently has two young granddaughters growing up in Brunswick. He identifies them and their future as a major motivation for his run for office.

Tucker’s main political concerns, according to his website, are maintaining good public schools, strengthening environmental safeguards, and advocating for health care coverage, fair taxes, and environmental growth. He also emphasizes maintaining civility in public debate.