July 30, 2012

U.S. House District 1: Calder concedes to Courtney

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Patrick Calder conceded to Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney this afternoon in the Republican primary race for Maine's 1st Congresssional District race.

click image to enlarge

Patrick Calder, right, has conceded the race for the Republican nomination in Maine's U.S. House of Representatives 1st District to Jon Courtney, left. Above, Calder gives his concession speech at Pat's Pizza in Portland at a 3 p.m. joint press conference with Courtney.

Kelley Bouchard / Staff Writer

Recount request possible

Because the results of the race between Jon Courtney and Patrick Calder for the 1st Congressional District Republican nomination will be so close, a request for a recount is possible.

Under state law, a candidate who is the apparent loser and who desires a recount must file a written request with the Secretary of State within five business days after the election. The recount is held under the supervision of the Secretary of State, who allows the candidate's representatives or counsel to recount the ballots.

If the percentage difference shown by the official tabulation between the leading candidate and the requesting candidate is 2 percent or less of the total votes cast for that office, a deposit is not required.

If the percentage difference is more than 2 percent and less than or equal to 4 percent of the total votes cast for that office, the deposit is $500.

Courtney survived a surprisingly strong challenge from the political newcomer and will now battle Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree for the 1st District seat in November.

Calder won't seek a recount and will help Courtney campaign through the summer and fall, he said during a joint news conference at 3 p.m. today at Pat's Pizza in Portland.

"You are a first-class act," Courtney said, praising Calder as an articulate, effective campaigner.

As of 2:10 p.m., Courtney, who lives in Springvale, held a razor-thin 265-vote lead over Patrick Calder of Portland, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

With a vote of 14,547 to 14,282, the difference is less than 1 percent of total votes cast.

The race to choose a Republican nominee was too close to call as results were tallied Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

"It was close," Courtney said. "I'm humbled and honored. Patrick really connected with people and he has a bright future."

Calder declined to say exactly what he plans to say, but he stood by a promise he made Tuesday night that he would support Courtney if he won the election.

Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn said her office wouldn't have official results until Friday. For a recount to happen, she said, the trailing candidate has to request it in writing.

The candidates were neck and neck as results rolled in throughout the night Tuesday, with Calder often holding an unexpected lead.

Calder credited his surprising performance to a strong grassroots campaign and dedicated volunteers.

“I expected it to be close, but beyond that I didn’t know,” Calder said. “I think it says a lot about the attitudes of voters in general. They’re tired of politics as usual.”

Courtney said if he won, he would immediately launch a campaign to talk to people across the district.

“We’re going to find out what they think about what’s happening in Washington and what they think the solutions are,” Courtney said.

Dan Hobart of North Yarmouth said he voted for Calder because he heard the candidate speak a few times on the radio and liked what he had to say.

“I actually didn’t know a lot about that race,” Hobart said. “I figure the money’s behind Pingree anyway.”

Tony Payne of Falmouth said he voted for Courtney because he believes the candidate’s experience in the Legislature and as a small-business owner will be helpful in Washington.

“Maine and the nation need that kind of seasoned leadership,” Payne said. “Courtney has seen the spectrum of agendas that come before a legislative body and what it takes to find solutions.”

Calder, 29, who is a cruise-ship engineer, ran as a political newcomer who wanted to be a voice for Maine’s working people in Washington, D.C. He’s also chairman of Portland’s Republican City Committee.

This was Calder’s second run for public office. In 2010, the Eastport native ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Peter Stuckey in House District 114.

During the campaign, Calder said Congress must consider ending foreign aid and should look for ways to reduce entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security. He said he opposes the president’s health care law, tax increases on the wealthy, gay marriage and extending the nation’s debt limit. He would support a balanced-budget amendment and legal access to abortion, he said.

Courtney, 45, has promised to show the same respect for Democratic colleagues in Washington that he has demonstrated for the last decade as a representative and senator in the Legislature. He said that’s what it will take to move Congress beyond ideological differences and find solutions to problems ranging from the need for more jobs to the high federal debt.

(Continued on page 2)

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