June 21, 2018
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Damariscotta-area House candidate withdraws recount request, confirming Dem’s victory

By Matthew Stone, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Republican candidate who was trailing by fewer than 100 votes in a Damariscotta-area House race has withdrawn his request for a vote recount, confirming another legislative victory for Democrats.

Alan Pinkham of Damariscotta requested a recount to confirm the outcome of his race against Democrat Michael Devin of Newcastle after coming out of the Nov. 6 election trailing Devin by 91 votes.

Devin was leading Pinkham 2,861 to 2,770 in the race for House District 51, which covers Bristol, Damariscotta, Edgecomb, Newcastle, South Bristol and Monhegan Plantation. The recount was set to take place Monday afternoon.

Devin’s victory marks another Democratic pickup in the House. Devin will replace Rep. Jonathan McKane, R-Newcastle, who couldn’t run for re-election due to the state’s term limits law.

The Devin-Pinkham recount would have been the 13th recount conducted by the secretary of state’s office this month to settle close legislative races. In the end, 10 losing House candidates and two losing state Senate candidates requested recounts. None of the 12 recounts changed a race’s outcome.

Election officials also conducted a recount Monday morning to settle a Piscataquis County commissioner’s race, the only recount requested for a non-legislative race. In that contest, Republican Frederick Trask of Milo prevailed by 11 votes over Democratic challenger Donald Crossman of Milo.

With legislative recounts done, the stage is set for a newly elected Legislature controlled by Democrats to be sworn in on Dec. 5.

After both legislative chambers shifted to Republican control in 2010 for the first time in decades, voters earlier this month returned Democrats to control in both the House and Senate for the 126th Legislature. On their own, Democrats won’t have enough seats to override vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage.

In the House, Democrats will control 89 seats, and the party expects that four independents elected to the chamber will often vote with them. House Democrats have nominated Rep. Mark Eves of North Berwick as House speaker, Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham as House majority leader and Rep. Jeff McCable of Skowhegan as assistant majority leader.

Their Republican counterparts, who will control 58 House seats, chose Rep. Kenneth Fredette of Newport as House minority leader and Rep. Alexander Willette of Mapleton as assistant minority leader.

Republicans controlled the House over the past two years with 77 seats. Democrats held 70 seats and unenrolled members held two. The chamber currently has two vacancies.

Democrats will control the Senate with 19 seats, up from the 15 seats they currently hold. They have nominated Sen. Justin Alfond of Portland to serve as Senate president, Sen. Seth Goodall of Richmond as majority leader and Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash as assistant majority leader.

Republicans, who chose Sen. Michael Thibodeau of Winterport as minority leader and Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta as assistant minority leader, will control 15 seats, down from the 19 they currently hold.

The Senate has one unenrolled member, Sen. Richard Woodbury of Yarmouth.

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