November 14, 2012

Newendyke keeps House 80 seat after recount

Secretary of state's office rules incumbent Republican defeated Democrat Rachel Sukeforth by four votes, 2,459 to 2,455

By Betty Adams
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Rep. Melvin Newendyke, R-Litchfield, retained his House District 80 seat at the end of a three-hour ballot recount today.

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Republican Rep. Melvin Newendyke is congratulated by Democratic challenger Rachel Sukeforth after a recount reaffirmed him as the winner in House District 80 seat, representing Litchfield, Monmouth and Wales, on Wednesday morning in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Volunteer counters Carl Pettengill, of Farmingdale, left, and Rita Moran, of Winthrop, sort through ballots in the House District 80 race between Republican incumbent Rep. Melvin Newendyke and Democratic challenger Rachel Sukeforth.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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 Here are the official tallies from Thursday’s recount:

• Litchfield: Newendyke, 924; Sukeforth, 922; blank, 66

• Monmouth: Newendyke, 1,086; Sukeforth, 1,171; blank, 73

• Wales: Newendyke, 444; 353 Sukeforth; blank, 52

• Military & overseas: Newendyke, 5; Sukeforth, 8; blank, 2

• One additional — formerly disputed — ballot was counted for Sukeforth and another was ruled blank.

In the end, four votes made the difference.

The final tally of ballots cast Nov. 6 in Litchfield, Monmouth and Wales showed Newendyke with 2,459 votes and Democratic challenger Rachel Sukeforth with 2,455 votes.

The recount was conducted by the Department of the Secretary of State and held at the Department of Public Safety headquarters. The recount finished in time for Newendyke, 70, to take his place at the 1 p.m. Republican legislative caucus today at the State House.

After the recount, Sukeforth, 24, shook Newendyke’s hand and congratulated him on the win. “Thank you for giving me the chance to be your opponent,” Sukeforth said.

Sukeforth also said she planned to run again. This was her first foray into public office.

“Rachel put in a tremendous effort,” Newendyke said. “It was very close, closer than I anticipated.”

The two were neck-and-neck in Litchfield, where they both live. Newendyke had 924 votes to Sukeforth's 922, according to the final tallies.

Wales voters gave Newendyke the nod by 91 votes, and Monmouth voters gave Sukeforth a lead with 85 more votes than her opponent.

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