Michael F. Brennan

Quick Facts

IntroAmerican politician
Is Politician
From United States of America
Type Politics


Michael F. Brennan (born 1953) is a Maine politician and professor who formerly served as the 87th Mayor of Portland, Maine. Brennan, a Democrat, served as State Senator from 2002-2006 and Senate Majority Leader and a 2008 Democratic candidate for Maine’s 1st congressional district. On May 15, 2011 Brennan announced his candidacy in the Portland, Maine mayoral election. On November 9, Brennan won the 15-candidate contest and became the first directly-elected mayor of Portland since 1923.

Early life, education, and academic career

Brennan earned his BS in Education from Florida State University, his MA in Public Policy from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, his MSW from the University of New England and has completed the Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Michael is a licensed clinical social worker and worked as a policy associate at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine where he directed projects related to child welfare, substance abuse, mental health and public policy. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of New England and served as Co-Chair on the National Board of Advisors of Casey Family Services. Brennan has also worked as an affordable housing developer and, in the 1970s was an anti-nuclear activist with the Clamshell Alliance.

Maine legislature


Brennan represented part of Portland in the Maine House of Representatives from 1992 to 2000 and in the Maine Senate from 2002 to 2006.

In 1992, he was elected to Maine’s 37th House District. In 1994, he won re-election to a second term with 70%. In 1996, he won re-election to a third term with 75%. In 1998, he won re-election to a fourth term unopposed.

In January 2002, incumbent State Senator Joel Abromson died. A special election was held in March 2002, and he ran in the vacant 27th District and won with a plurality of 41%, defeating Republican Sally Vamvakias by just 10 votes. In the November 2002 election, he defeated her in a rematch 53%-40%. After redistricting, he decided to run in the newly redrawn Maine’s 9th Senate District and won unopposed.

Committee assignments

He served as chair of the Education Committee, the Health and Human Services Committee and the Joint Select Committee on Health Care Reform. He served as Senate Majority Leader.

Mayor of Portland

As the Portland’s top elected official, Brennan has implemented several initiatives designed to encourage economic development and job creation as well as support and strengthen the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Brennan represents the City of Portland’s interests at both the State House in Augusta, Maine and in U.S. Congress where he advocates for the city, its residents and businesses.

On December 8, 2011, Brennan led his first city council meeting as mayor. The meeting featured a 4+ hour discussion on whether to allow OccupyMaine, which was part of the Occupy movement, to obtain a 6 month permit to use two-thirds of nearby Lincoln Park. Brennan and 7 other councilors voted against the permit, while West End City Councilor David Marshall was the lone supporter of the permit.

Upon the passage of Maine’s same-sex marriage law, Mayor Brennan stated that he would look into the possibility of opening Portland City Hall at 12:01 AM on December 29, 2012, the day the law takes effect, to issue marriage licenses in order to have the first legal same-sex wedding in Maine occur in Portland. He also stated that he wanted to attend the first same-sex wedding in the City, whenever that might be.

Mayor Brennan announced on June 3, 2015 that he would seek reelection.

Personal life

Brennan lives in Portland with his wife, Joan Martay. They have two grown children, Travis and Ryan.

Electoral history

  • 2008 Democratic Primary for Congress – 1st District

    • Chellie Pingree 44%
    • Adam Cote 28%
    • Michael Brennan 11%
    • Ethan Strimling 11%
    • Mark Lawrence 5%
    • Stephen Meister 1%
  • 2011 Mayoral

    • Michael Brennan 26.76%
    • Ethan Strimling 22.42%
    • Nicholas Mavodones 15.00%
    • David A. Marshall 7.74%
    • Jed Rathband 7.12%
    • Jill Duson 4.26%
    • Markos Miller 3.67%
    • Richard Dodge 3.42%
    • Christopher Vail 2.06%
    • Peter Bryant 1.87%
    • John Eder 1.38%
    • Charles Bragdon 1.09%
    • Hamza Haadoow 0.94%
    • Jodie Lapchick 0.65%
    • Note: Through 14 rounds of instant runoffs, Brennan extended the lead he built on Election Day. During the retabulation process, second choice votes for lower ranked candidates were systematically reallocated to higher ranked candidates until an individual claimed more than 50 percent of the total.