NEWPORT, Maine — Kenneth Fredette emerged victorious in the House District 25 Republican primary on Tuesday, albeit by only 28 votes.
“I’ve been saying all along that I thought this race would be decided by about 20 votes,” said Fredette, who edged out challenger Robert Emrich by a vote of 616-588, according to unofficial results tallied by the Bangor Daily News. The District 25 seat, currently held by House Minority Leader Josh Tardy, R-Newport, represents the towns of Corinna, Exeter, Newport, Plymouth and part of Corinth. Tardy is serving in his fourth consecutive term, the most allowed under Maine law.
“What I’m focused on now is the general election and keeping this seat a Republican seat in the fall election,” said Fredette. “I’m also going to be working hard to elect Paul LePage governor so we can reduce the size of government.”
Fredette faces Democratic challenger Frederick Austin in the general election. Emrich, pastor of the Emmanuel Bible Baptist Church in Plymouth, did not return calls seeking comment. Emrich is best-known for his highly public stand against same-sex marriage last year, though in an interview in the Bangor Daily News in May he made it clear that he was not running as a one-issue candidate.
Fredette thanked Emrich for running a respectful campaign that was focused on the issues.
“Bob and I shared a lot of the same principles and values,” said Fredette. “It was a good race.”
Fredette said the most crucial quality for anyone representing District 25 is an understanding of the importance of agriculture.
“Farming is fundamental to our economy,” he said. “I look forward to working with the farming community when I’m elected.”