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Recount Expected in Maine Election

March 6, 2002

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Democrat Michael Brennan held a 20-vote lead Wednesday in a special election that could add to his party’s one-vote advantage in the state Senate, and state election officials prepared for a likely recount.

With all precincts reporting, Brennan, a former four-term state House member, had 3,284 votes to Republican Sally Vamvakias’ 3,264, according to unofficial figures from local election workers.

Brennan’s lead over Vamvakias in the five-way race had narrowed as more votes were counted in her hometown of Falmouth.

Officials were preparing for the likelihood of a recount, said Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state.

``There’s a process here, and we’re going to take advantage of it,″ said Dwayne Bickford, executive director of the Maine Republican Party. ``It was a hotly contested election and we want to make sure all of the vote tallies were tabulated accurately.″

The Jan. 14 death of Republican Sen. Joel Abromson left the Senate with 17 Democrats and 16 Republicans. One senator is an independent.

A win for the Democrats would give the party an 18-16 seat advantage over the GOP as the legislature moves into the end of its session with budget and health care issues still to be debated.

Democrats also said a win Tuesday would boost their chances in the November legislative elections, when they hope to preserve their House majority and control the Senate.

Republicans have been chipping away at Democratic Senate majorities that have held for most of the last two decades.

Update hourly