AUGUSTA, Maine — A recount conducted Friday in Augusta showed that Mike Thibodeau, the GOP’s choice to be the next Maine Senate president, is the winner of a close race for the Waldo County district he has represented since 2010.
Unofficial Election Day results had shown Thibodeau besting his Democratic challenger, Jonathan Fulford, by 105 votes. After the recount — conducted under the supervision of the secretary of state’s office — Thibodeau’s margin of victory actually grew to 135 votes. The final tally was 9,109 to 8,974.
Republicans in the Senate had been confident of Thibodeau’s eventual victory. Last week, they chose the Winterport lawmaker, who was Senate minority leader during the most recent two-year session, to be Senate president in the upcoming legislative session. Republicans won control of the Senate with a 20-15 majority.
“I want to thank Mike Thibodeau for running a competitive campaign and for keeping the tone civil,” wrote Fulford in a concession provided to the BDN. “Congratulations on your win and I wish you success in representing the people of Waldo County over the next two years. I enjoyed meeting more of your family while greeting people at the polls in Winterport last week. I will be watching with interest your efforts to address the problem of dark money in politics.”
Rob Caverly, chief of staff for Thibodeau, said it was good to have the recount finished.
“Senate President-elect Thibodeau is pleased to have the opportunity to serve the people of Waldo County at the State House again,” he said in a written statement.
Two additional Senate recounts will be conducted next week. Those include Senate District 21 in Lewiston, where unofficial results show Democratic Rep. Nate Libby beating Republican Patti Gagne 6,647 to 6,576; and Senate District 25, which covers part of Cumberland County, where unofficial results show Democrat Catherine Breen beating Republican Cathleen Manchester 10,930 to 10,898.
Recounts have been canceled in two other races after the apparent losers withdrew their requests. As a result, Aroostook County Republican Mike Willette’s win in Senate District 2 and Lincoln County Democrat Chris Johnson’s victory in Senate District 13 will not be challenged.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.