Candidate seeks recount in race lost by 29 votes

Posted Nov. 08, 2010, at 11:27 p.m.

CASTINE,  Maine — After a close race in the House District 37 race in the Nov. 2 elections, Republican candidate Madeleine “Gay” Leach has asked for a recount.

Leach’s opponent in the race, Democrat Ralph Chapman, was the apparent winner of the election by just 29 votes, 2,256 to 2,227.

Leach said that given the narrow margin it seemed appropriate to call for a recount.

“I don’t think I’d really anticipate a different outcome,” she said, “but because it was so close, it seemed like the right thing to do. That’s part of the process.”

Both Leach and Chapman were first-time candidates seeking to fill the seat left vacant when Rep. Jim Schatz ran for the District 28 Senate seat. Schatz lost that three-way race to fellow Rep. Brian Langley, a Republican. The Green Independent candidate, Lynne Williams, finished third.

According to Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state, the House 37 recount probably will not be scheduled until early next week. Flynn said Maine State Police officers will collect the ballots and other materials from the towns in the district and will store them in Augusta until the recount is scheduled. The review of the ballots probably will be held at the Department of Public Safety Building in Augusta, she said.

House District 37 includes the Hancock County towns of Blue Hill, Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot, Sedgwick and Surry.

The House 37 recount is not the only race that will be reviewed, according to Flynn. There will be a recount of the district attorney’s race for District 7, which includes all of Hancock and Washington counties. In a three-way race, the current deputy district attorney, Democrat Carletta Bassano, was the apparent winner by 690 votes over Republican Matthew Foster, 14,087 to 13,397. Independent candidate Stephen Juskewitch received 9,340 votes.

Foster requested the recount, which, according to Flynn, will be scheduled after any questioned House and Senate races have been reviewed, she said.

There also will be a recount of the District 7 Senate race where Democrat Lawrence Bliss was the apparent winner over Republican Joseph Palmieri by a vote of 9,142 to 9,078. District 7 includes South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and a portion of Scarborough. Those ballots already have been collected, Flynn said, and the recount is scheduled for Friday. House and Senate recounts usually take about half a day each to complete, she said.

There were some other close races around the state — including the county commissioner race in Waldo County where Democrat Donald Berry and Republican Betty Johnson were separated by five votes, based on unofficial results. Flynn said she expects there could be additional recount requests before the deadline, which is 5 p.m. today.

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