FALMOUTH — After initially saying she was content with the outcome of the Nov. 4 election, Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray has called for a recount after her apparent narrow loss to Falmouth Democrat Cathy Breen in state Senate District 25.
Manchester officially made the request on Nov. 5.
The recount will happen at 9 a.m. on Nov. 18 in the Florian Room of the Department of Public Safety Building in Augusta. Representatives of both candidates and staff members from the Department of the Secretary of State will examine each ballot.
If enough ballots are still disputed after the recount to make the outcome uncertain, the Legislature will determine which candidate wins the seat.
An unofficial count had Breen winning by a razor-thin margin of seven votes. After accounting for votes from military personnel and U.S. residents living overseas, Breen still emerged victorious by a total of 32 votes, 10,930 to 10,898, or a margin of less than one-fifth of 1 percent.
Senate District 25 covers Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gray, Long Island, Yarmouth and part of Westbrook.
Manchester said via text message she was “honored and overwhelmed” by the number of people from the community who asked her to request a recount.
“I felt I owed it to them and the people that had worked so hard on my behalf,” Manchester said.
Breen said she was not surprised by Manchester’s decision to seek a recount.
“I think that’s likely (that I’ll still come out ahead),” Breen said. “But you never know for sure.”
Until the recount takes place, Maine State Police are storing the ballots in tamper-proof metal containers, closed with specially numbered security seals and locks.
Two other state senate races are being recounted. Ballots in Senate District 11 (Waldo County) will be recounted on Nov. 14, and Senate District 21 (Lewiston) will be recounted Nov. 17.
Under Maine state law, there is no automatic recount, and political parties cannot seek recounts on their own; candidates must file with the secretary of state’s office within five business days of the election and must pay a deposit, which is returned if they win the recount.
The deposit increases incrementally, starting at $500 and ranging up to $10,000 depending on the percentage difference between the candidates. If the difference between the two candidates is less than 2 percent, however, the deposit is waived.