Nine recounts set to settle legislative races

Posted Nov. 13, 2012, at 3:29 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 13, 2012, at 3:52 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Candidates in nine legislative elections have requested recounts following races where, in some cases, the winner and loser were separated by fewer than 10 votes.

The first three recounts will take place Wednesday in Augusta at the offices of the state Department of Public Safety, according to the Maine secretary of state’s office.

So far, election officials are scheduled to retabulate vote totals in eight House contests and one Senate race. Candidates in other races have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to ask for recounts.

The tallies slated for Wednesday should settle the score in some of the closest House races this year:

• In House District 80, Democrat Rachel Lynne Sukeforth of Litchfield is requesting a recount in her race against Republican Rep. Melvin Newendyke of Litchfield. Results submitted to the secretary of state’s office show Sukeforth trailing by five votes out of more than 4,900 cast.

• In House District 127 in Scarborough, Democrat Paul Aranson trails Republican Rep. Amy Volk by five votes, according to the secretary of state. Nearly 5,500 voters cast ballots in that contest.

• And in House District 94 in the Buckfield area, Republican Timothy Turner trails incumbent Democratic Rep. Teresea M. Hayes by 34 votes out of almost 4,500 cast, the secretary of state’s tally shows. Though her recount is pending, Hayes was one of four Democrats contending Tuesday for the nomination to become House speaker.

While a recount is likely to settle an election’s outcome, it’s possible for a second tally to turn up enough disputed ballots to affect the outcome. In that case, it’s the responsibility of the House or Senate to seat one of the candidates.

The other races where candidates have requested recounts are in:

• House District 70, where Republican incumbent Rep. Bruce Bickford of Auburn is trailing Democrat R. Wayne Werts of Auburn by just two votes, according to the secretary of state. The recount is slated for Thursday.

• House District 144, where Republican Daniel Archambault of Acton trails Democrat William Noon of Sanford by 19 votes. Election officials are also scheduled to conduct the District 144 recount Thursday.

• House District 109 in the North Yarmouth area, where Republican Susan Austin trails incumbent Democratic Rep. Anne P. Graham by 42 votes. Austin and Graham’s recount will take place Thursday.

• Senate District 17, where Democrat Colleen Quint of Minot is trailing Republican incumbent Sen. Garrett Mason of Lisbon by 50 votes out of nearly 19,500 cast. The Senate District 17 recount — the only Senate race that’s expected to go to a recount — is scheduled for Friday.

• House District 45 in the Palermo area, where incumbent Republican Rep. R. Ryan Harmon trails Democrat Brian L. Jones by 33 votes. The District 45 recount hasn’t yet been scheduled.

• House District 54 in the Winslow area, where incumbent Republican Rep. Susan E. Morissette trails Democrat Catherine M. Nadeau by 34 votes. The secretary of state’s office has yet to schedule this recount.

While the recounts could change the results in some races, the Democrats will be firmly in control of both the House and Senate following last Tuesday’s elections.

If the recounts confirm the current vote tallies, Democrats would have 89 seats in the House while Republicans would control 58. The House also has four unenrolled members who are likely to caucus with Democrats.

In the Senate, Democrats so far control the chamber with a 19-15 majority. The chamber also has one unenrolled member, Sen. Richard Woodbury of Yarmouth.

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