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Recount expected after incumbent Graham edges familiar foe Austin in House District 109

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Recount expected after incumbent Graham edges familiar foe Austin in House District 109

NORTH YARMOUTH — In their third face-off at the polls, Rep. Anne Graham, D-North Yarmouth, narrowly defeated former Rep. Susan Austin of Gray on Tuesday by 29 votes, according to preliminary results.

A recount was expected after Graham, who earned a second term in the state House, defeated her Republican opponent 2,751 to 2,722.

Austin won in her home town, defeating Graham there 1,876 to 1,396. But Graham dominated in North Yarmouth and Pownal, receiving 1,030 and 325 votes respectively in those towns, compared with Austin's 623 and 223.

North Yarmouth voter turnout was 81 percent, up from 78 percent in the previous presidential election.

The candidates twice previously faced each other, in 2006 and 2008, with Austin, 63, winning the district both times. Austin was termed out of office in 2010, and Graham, 53, won that year's election.

Austin said she thought a recount would be done automatically by law.

"I know politics can be a strange encounter, in terms of races," Austin said. "A great deal is unpredictable, and you have to accept that when you throw you hat in the race; you know that there's a lot you can't control. You can only control your own best thoughts and behavior and decisions, and then it's up to ... a lot of interpretation by the possible constituents you hope to win."

She added that "I thought we ran ... a good, clean race, a positive race. We focused on what we wanted to accomplish."

"I am over the moon," Graham said Wednesday morning. "... This was probably my hardest campaign."

She noted that Pownal's support for her shows how legislators must pay attention to every part of their district.

"I felt really strongly that my record in two short years of passing four bipartisan bills was important," Graham said, adding that she is very much a moderate, and "I just get things done."

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.