Freeport council election recount confirms Rixon's victory over incumbent DeGrandpre

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FREEPORT — Bill Rixon officially defeated incumbent at-large Town Councilor Rich DeGrandpre after a recount Monday.

While the Nov. 4 results said Rixon beat the 12-year councilor by six votes, Monday’s recount showed the difference was five votes, 2,076 to 2,071.

“I’m pleased obviously that the recount came out the way it did,” Rixon said.

Town clerk Tracey Stevens on Monday said the smaller margin was the result of a vote-tabulation machine counting one vote as a blank because the oval was not filled in properly.

“We believe the one-vote increase for Richard DeGrandpre was due to a ballot where the voter had marked a check mark instead of filling in the oval, and the voting machine did not recognize that as a valid vote,” Stevens said in an email.

DeGrandpre owns R&D Automotive and was seeking his fifth term as councilor-at-large. Although the results weren’t in his favor, he said he still hopes to stay involved with town government.

“I’ll still participate as we go through budget season,” DeGrandpre said. “The sad thing is that I’ll miss doing the work.”

DeGrandpre said he may run for council again in the future, but for now he wants to spend time on the things he’s been neglecting for the past 12 years. He also said he may pick up some new hobbies.

“I’ve talked to former town councilors and they’ve assured me there is life after council,” DeGrandpre said.

Rixon has lived in Freeport for 30 years and is a retired physics and earth sciences teacher who worked at Greely High School in Cumberland. Although he doesn’t have his own children, his partner has three children.

Rixon is now a tutor in Freeport and has also taught adult education classes in Freeport and Yarmouth. He is new to local politics and said in September he wants to serve on the council because it’s time for a change in town government.

Rixon attended his first council meeting in August.

Rixon said during the recount he wasn’t worried the results would change.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” he said. “I thought the (voting) machines were efficient and accurate. I was fairly confident.”

Rixon is scheduled to be sworn in on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.