BRUNSWICK, Maine — A ballot recount has confirmed incumbent James Grant’s narrow election victory over challenger Chris Watkinson in School Board District 5.
The Nov. 13 recount gave Grant an eight-vote margin, 558-550 in the east Brunswick district.
Watkinson had a stronger showing among voters who went to the polls Nov. 4, with 430 votes to Grant’s 395. But Grant more than made up the difference in absentee ballots, 162-119.
On Friday, Town Clerk Fran Smith said one ballot was not counted on Nov. 4 because the voter marked both the dot next to Grant’s name and wrote in his name as a write-in candidate, which caused the voting machine to invalidate it.
In an interview Friday, Grant said he is pleased to return to another term on the board and thanked the people who supported him.
Immediately after the election, Grant said he did not expect to win because he had not been able to put time and energy into his re-election campaign.
On Friday, he repeated that the narrow margin was not unexpected.
“I’m not surprised by the results. I know he was campaigning heavily, and I was not campaigning very much,” Grant said.
Grant, 48, has served on the board for a total of 14 years, first from 1992 to 2000, and then from 2008 through his re-election this year.
He works at the Maine Learning Technology Initiative at Freeport High School and sits on a Department of Education commission studying the state’s election funding formula, and on the Maine School Boards Association board of directors, where he was recently elected vice chairman.
In a statement after the recount, Watkinson said he remains excited to serve as a private citizen seeking “real progress” toward a better school system.
“I didn’t campaign against Jim Grant,” Watkinson said. “I campaigned against the general position our School Board and administration has taken in regard to our problems of overcrowding and spending tax dollars on short-term solutions, while our primary facilities languish in despair.”