FALMOUTH — Democrat Cathy Breen claimed an unofficial 32-vote margin of victory late Wednesday in the Maine Senate District 25 election, after ballots from military and U.S. personnel overseas were counted.
Breen’s challenger, Gray Republican Cathy Manchester – despite initially saying she was content with the outcome – later said she will seek a recount.
Similarly, Democrat Teresa Pierce eked out a close win over Republican Gregory Payeur in House District 44.
Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, easily won re-election in House District 43.
Breen, a Falmouth resident, held a razor-thin lead over Manchester, 10,897 to 10,890 Wednesday morning, and netted an additional 25 votes later in the day. She received 33 more votes from voters overseas; Manchester received seven overseas votes and one from a utility worker doing storm-repair work in northern Maine.
“I feel very honored by the win and I feel eager to represent the voters of District 25,” Breen said.
Manchester originally said she will not seek a recount, unless the state automatically requires one or the Republican Party calls for one.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to waste the state’s resources on that,” Manchester said.
She called for a recount later in the day.
Under state law, a candidate must file with the secretary of state for a recount within five business days of the election. There is no automatic trigger, and parties cannot file on their own.
If the difference between the two candidates is less than 2 percent, the candidate filling for a recount does not have to pay a deposit. Otherwise, depending on the difference, he or she would have to pay a deposit of anywhere between $500 and $10,000.
Manchester said she enjoyed the campaign, but said it also had its downside.
“I am disheartened with the partisanship and negative ads, and saddened that our Maine politics that stretching truth and lies are commonplace,” she said.
The district, which was previously represented by independent Sen. Richard Woodbury of Yarmouth, includes Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gray, Long Island, Yarmouth and part of Westbrook. Woodbury endorsed Breen.
“I’m just looking forward to getting to work,” Breen said. “I’d like to thank my opponent for a great race.”
Breen served on the Falmouth Town Council from 2005 until 2011, and was a two-term chairwoman. She was also on the board of directors for Spurwink Services.
Manchester, a real estate broker, was also Norway’s chief of police from 1990 to 1995. She served on Gray’s Town Council for one year, from 2009-2010.
“The bottom line is that the senator is a representation of people’s views and wishes, and in this district it appears that people spoke,” Manchester said. “And if the vote holds I’ll offer my whole-hearted congrats to Cathy Breen.”
Dion, a former Cumberland County Sheriff and city police officer, easily won a third term representing portions of northern Portland and west Falmouth in what is now House District 43. Dion defeated Republican Shannon Rafferty-Roy, 2,144 to 959.
Pierce, a former three-term town councilor, narrowly defeated Payeur, who had never previously sought political office.
She received just under 52 percent of the vote, 2,586 to 2,438, and said she was excited to have won such a close race.
“I’m just going to start digging into the issues that will come up in Augusta,” Pierce said. “I’m not sure what the governor has in mind, and there are races still undecided. But I’m anxious just to get going. Being new to it all I don’t know all the next steps.”
Payeur, who said the race was well orchestrated on both sides, said one of the main comments he heard was that it never got dirty.
“There was not one nasty thing on either side, which is how I like things,” he said. “Spreading hate doesn’t help anything.”
Pierce also commended the clean campaign, saying it was a testament to both candidates.
“It’s unfortunate that more contests aren’t just about that,” she said. “I think (Payeur) is a class act, a true gentleman, it was a pleasure to run against him and with him. It’s unfortunate we cant’t say that about all the races.”
Payeur said he isn’t sure what will come next for him, but also said he didn’t see any glaring errors in the way he ran for the seat.
“What it comes down to is about 74 people if they had voted another way would have changed the election,” he said.
District 44 was formerly House District 112, represented by Democratic Rep. Mary Nelson, who chose not to seek a fourth term.
This reported was updated on Nov. 6, 2014.