AUGUSTA — A ballot recount at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday will determine whether incumbent state Rep. Melvin Newendyke, R-Litchfield, retains his squeaker of a win in House District 80.

Democratic challenger Rachel Sukeforth has filed a recount request at the secretary of state’s office in Augusta.

Unofficial tallies show her losing by eight votes to Newendyke, who sought a second term in the Legislature. The unofficial vote tally was 2,454 for Newendyke and 2,446 for Sukeforth.

The district consists of Litchfield, Monmouth and Wales. Both candidates live in Litchfield.

Recounts are not automatic and must be sought within five days, according to Megan Sanborn, spokeswoman for the Department of the Secretary of State. Sanborn confirmed the day and time late Friday that Sukeforth had filed the recount request Thursday.

“I think it will happen in the next week or so,” Newendyke said earlier Friday, adding that fellow Republican Rep. Kenneth Fredette, of Newport, who is an attorney, called and offered to brief him about the recount process.

Two years ago, Newendyke won election to the district’s open seat by a comfortable margin of 400-plus votes over Democrat Scott Wing, of Monmouth, in an election when 700 fewer votes were cast.

According to unofficial results in November 2010, Newendyke received 2,306 votes, while Wing got 1,874.

Recounts take place at the Maine Department of Public Safety headquarters, on Commerce Drive in Augusta.

“Troopers will begin next week picking up ballots from the cities and town involved in recounts of legislative races,” Steve McCausland, spokesman for the department, said in a notice Friday. Ballots due to be recounted are brought to the department’s headquarters.

Newendyke, 70, a retired banker and auditor, is completing his first term in the Legislature. He previously was on the Litchfield Budget Committee and is on the Legislature’s House Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee.

Sukeforth, 27, graduated in 2007 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y. She served on Litchfield’s Housing Rehabilitation Planning Committee.

While Sanborn said five recounts had been requested statewide as of Friday morning, McCausland indicated that as many as 11 House races and three Senate contests might be recounted next week.

Other candidates who have requested recounts so far are: Democrat Colleen Quint, Senate District 17, Androscoggin County; Democrat R. Wayne Werts, House District 70, parts of Auburn and Lewiston; Republican Dan Archambault, House District 144, Acton and parts of Lebanon and Sanford; and incumbent Republican Susan Austin, House District 109, parts of Gray, North Yarmouth and Pownal.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
badams@centralmaine.com