PORTLAND, Maine — The Republican who appears to have narrowly lost the nomination for Maine’s 1st Congressional District asked the state for a recount Friday.
That move has been expected since Tuesday’s primary between Mark Holbrook and Ande Smith, neither of whom has been declared a winner in the race for the chance to run an underdog 2016 race against fourth-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat.
Results reported to Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Holbrook, a counselor from Brunswick, beat Smith, a lawyer from North Yarmouth, by 55 votes — a difference of less than three-tenths of a percentage point in an election in which nearly 21,000 people voted.
On Friday, Smith formally asked the secretary of state’s office for a recount, which Dunlap spokeswoman Kristen Muszynski said will likely be scheduled for sometime in the next two weeks in Augusta.
Smith’s campaign manager, Nick McGee, said in a statement that Smith requested the recount to “ensure that the results of this election are accurate, and that they reflect the will of First District voters.”
“He is looking forward to learning the official and verified results, and continuing his push for honest and responsible government,” McGee said.
If Holbrook hangs on to win the primary, it’ll be quite a feat. Smith was the establishment-backed candidate, raising $151,000 to Holbrook’s $38,000 through late May.
Holbrook ran to Smith’s right, and during the race, his website contained a screed in which he called global warming a hoax, attacked Smith’s family and said Democrats “herded African-Americans onto a new plantation” with landmark social reforms such as Medicaid.
In an interview, Holbrook called a recount “an exercise in futility,” saying he had hoped that “calmer heads would prevail” and Smith wouldn’t ask for one, because while “it feels like a pretty slim margin,” it’s unlikely that clerks erred by more than 50 votes.
“I don’t think it’s going to change the outcome,” Holbrook said.