R vs D – Where Do Landlords Stand?

Republican Democrat Symbols

They say all politics is local.

The last election in Lewiston (ME) was closely watched by members of the local landlords association as a former Mayor (Larry Gilbert) challenged the sitting Mayor (Bob Macdonald) for his post.

In previous years, there hadn’t been much apparent interest by area landlords in the Mayor’s race since the position doesn’t really have any power… it’s pretty much a figurehead job, with the ability to break ties when necessary on City Council votes, and little else.

This year, however, the issue of small landlords being pushed out of business by non-profit housing agencies that appear to get preferential treatment – including huge tax breaks and incentives – became a lightning rod just before the election.

Former Mayor Gilbert is very much a proponent of the subsidized housing programs that renovate existing buildings for upwards of $150,000 a unit; the current Mayor (Macdonald) had repeatedly gone on record as supporting the private landlords who struggle to make ends meet in an economy where the HUD (Housing & Urban Development) Fair Market Rent for a two bedroom apartment dropped nearly $100 a month locally – not that the rental subsidy programs were paying Fair Market Rent, anyway.

Macdonald, a conservative Republican with a penchant for very “rough around the edges” speech that evokes among some the same shudders that Maine’s uber conservative Republican governor has engendered, soundly whupped his liberal Democratic challenger Gilbert.  (Gilbert is a lot more polished, but isn’t immune to foot in mouth disease.)

Did Macdonald win the landlord vote, and thereby the election?  I don’t know.  What do you think?

We’re curious… have you voted in local elections based on the “landlord-friendliness factor”?  Take our poll!

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