SEARSPORT, Maine — With just one vote separating winner Meredith Ares from Travis Otis after a Thursday night recount, Ares is Searsport’s newest member of the Board of Selectmen. Two votes initially had split the two candidates.
“They don’t come any tighter than that,” she said Friday of the election, which came in at 155 votes for her and 154 for Otis. “So many people, when you talk to them about how important it is to vote, they say, ‘My one vote doesn’t count.’ Well, it certainly does.”
Ares will fill the vacancy being left by Roland Lareau. She said that her first order of business is to “win the support and confidence of the people who wanted Travis.”
“Travis is a very nice young man. I like him. Under other circumstances, I might have voted for him myself,” Ares said.
Otis said that close races “get people thinking,” and even though he also tried and failed to be voted onto the Board of Selectmen last year, he will continue to be involved with Searsport.
“It’s just one of those things,” he said Friday. “I’m not going to hang my head and feel sorry for myself about it. It was a good race. It was very close.”
Lareau said Friday that he decided to step down to pursue other interests but may run again for the board in the future.
Ares said she would like to focus on helping foster a sense of unity in Searsport, which has seen a lot of heated words and division during the past year — especially relating to the hot debate about the controversial liquid propane gas tank and terminal project.
“We need to concentrate on the things we have in common. We all want good schools and good town services,” she said. “The selectmen certainly have a hand in bringing the town together.”