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The Latest: GOP rep touts plurality of votes in Maine race

November 8, 2018
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Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, seeking re-election in the 2nd Congressional District, greets supporters at his election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Bangor, Maine. (Gabor Degre/The Bangor Daily News via AP)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Latest on Maine’s 2nd Congressional District election (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Maine’s Republican congressman says he would’ve won his contest against a Democratic challenger under the state’s old voting system.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin is in a tough fight against Democratic state Rep. Jared Golden. The election’s the first in U.S. history to use a ranked style of balloting that reallocates the votes of third- and fourth-place candidates based on voters’ second choices.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says Poliquin is ahead in the popular vote by about 900 votes Thursday. That’s a plurality, but it’s not enough to avoid the ranked round of voting. Winners must top 50 percent to avoid the additional round.

Poliquin’s team says they have canvased towns that have yet to report their election results and found that Poliquin will carry the election by 2,000 votes. That’s still not 50 percent.

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10:25 a.m.

Couriers are rolling in Maine to collect ballot materials as the state determines the winner of a U.S. House seat via its new voting method for the first time.

Mainers ranked their choices in Congressional ballots this week in case no candidate cleared 50 percent of the popular vote. The office of the secretary of state says that appears to be the case in the contest between Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Democratic challenger Jared Golden.

The office says couriers were out Thursday and tabulations under the new method will likely begin Friday. The calculations will be open to the public.

Voters’ second choices will come into play to try to determine a clear winner of the hotly contested race.

The announcement of a winner is expected next week.

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