- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A potential recount loomed as the only congressional primary on the ballot remained too close to call Wednesday, a day after voters cast their tallies.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree was forced to wait to learn who’ll be her Republican challenger: Ande Smith, of North Yarmouth, or Mark Holbrook, of Brunswick.

The unofficial tally of 20,632 votes cast put Holbrook ahead by 58 votes with results pending from only one community, Isle au Haut, which had only 14 registered Republicans. But The Associated Press declined to declare a victor because the results were so close, with each candidate at 50 percentage points.

Holbrook said he was confident that the slim margin would withstand a recount. But, he added, “We’re not taking any victory laps. That’s for sure.”

Maine law requires town clerks to submit their tallies to the secretary of state by 5 p.m. Friday, while a candidate has until Tuesday to request a recount.

There’s no mandatory recount, but in this case there’s no financial cost for requesting a recount because of the narrow margin. The state collects a deposit only when someone requests a recount in an election in which the margin between candidates is greater than 1.5 percentage points.

Smith’s campaign was awaiting official results from the secretary of state before making a decision on whether a recount is necessary.

“This primary has shown that voters are ready for a change in leadership and are tired of politics as usual,” said Smith’s campaign manager, Nick McGee. “Regardless of the result, we look forward to continuing our push for honest and responsible government.”

As for Pingree, she was waiting like everyone else to see what happened.

“The process in the Republican primary is still not complete, and right now Congresswoman Pingree is focused on her work representing Maine in Washington,” her spokesman Willy Ritch said.

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