The race for a single seat on the Rockland City Council is generating a lot of buzz in the community.
The most watched race in the region, however, is the one between incumbent Republican State Sen. Christopher Rector of Thomaston and Democratic Rep. Edward Mazurek of Rockland.
These two are their political parties’ heavyweights.
Rector was first elected to the Legislature in 2002 when he unseated a popular veteran Democratic State Rep. James Skoglund of St. George. Rector won two easy re-election bids before he went for the open Senate seat created by the departure of term-limited fellow Republican State Sen. Christine Savage.
Some Democrats suggested in 2008 that Mazurek should have given up his safe re-election bid for the House and go for the Senate. Instead the Democrats selected State Rep. David Miramant of Camden.
Rector won that race by about 2,000 votes, collecting more than 11,000 votes in Senate District 22 which encompasses all of Knox County except Friendship and Washington.
In 2008, Rector won by winning in traditional Democratic stronghold Rockland 1,701 to 1,242. Rector also won by wide margins in traditional Republican communities of Warren and Union.
Two years later, Democrats did not even put up a challenger to Rector.
With Mazurek unable to seek another two years in the House because of term limits, he decided to challenge Rector.
Mazurek has won his races with relative ease. In his last race in 2010, he defeated his Republican opponent Steve Dyer 69 percent to 31 percent.
Mazurek is a retired teacher and football coach and has been emphasizing that connection to the community. Rockland is filled with Mazurek signs.
Rector has positioned himself as a moderate Republican after two years of battles between minority Democrats and Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Democrats have argued that Rector has sided with LePage on many issues.
Most local followers of politics expect this to be a close race.
And speaking of close, the city council race could also be close. In the last presidential election, more than 3,700 votes were cast in Rockland. In a three-way race, the winner will need to collect more than 1,200 votes and possibly 1,500 or more.
Harden has received no fewer than 1,119 votes in his four previous races and the most came in another presidential year — 2000 — when he collected 1,781 votes. The campaign has been more vigorous this year. Harold Dale Hayward has worked hard and has the backing of at least two former city councilors and a former state representative. The third candidate Frank Isganitis has the backing of some in the business community but he has run a less publicized campaign.
Forty-eight hours and we will know the results.