AUGUSTA, Maine — The Republican primary election for Maine’s 1st Congressional District is far from over.
More than 20 hours after polls closed, neither candidate had claimed victory, and naming a winner — even unofficially — hasn’t happened.
The contest between Mark Holbrook and Ande Smith — each of whom is eager to try to unseat fourth-term Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree in November — is certain to head to a recount. With all precincts but Isle au Haut having submitted vote tallies, unofficial results tallied by the Bangor Daily News have Holbrook in the lead, 10,319-10,267.
Unofficial results collected by the Portland Press Herald, also with only Isle au Haut missing, have Holbrook in the lead, 10,345-10,287.
With a recount certain, the question is who will call for it?
According to Maine law, that falls on the “apparent loser.” That person will be determined by unofficial results being collected by the secretary of state’s office.
According to spokeswoman Kristen Muszynski, municipalities have until the close of business on Friday to transmit their vote counts. Tallying those results could take until Monday.
The deadline for a recount request, at the end of the day Tuesday, also is at play. A recount request will have to arrive between the secretary of state’s announced tally and that deadline.
“We have that little window,” said Muszynski.
Holbrook said in an interview with the BDN on Wednesday that he assumes he is the victor, based on the Portland Press Herald’s results, but that he’s waiting for more information.
“I’m not taking any victory laps, that’s for sure,” said Holbrook. “I’ve been in consultation with the secretary of state, and I understand the recount process. … If [Smith] decides to go that route, we’re a couple of weeks away from getting anything certified.”
Smith’s campaign said in a written statement that it also is waiting for a preliminary determination from the secretary of state.
“We are continuing to receive reports regarding voting totals, but we look forward to learning the official results from the secretary of state’s office,” said Nick McGee, Smith’s campaign manager.
This is one instance when Pingree agrees with her would-be opponent, whoever he is.
“The process in the Republican primary is still not complete, and right now, Congresswoman Pingree is focused on her work representing Maine in Washington,” said her spokesman, Willy Ritch.