State Rep. Michael Perkins, left, and Kevin Kitchin talk Thursday after a ranked-choice count confirmed Perkins the winner in the Republican primary for state Senate District 16. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

AUGUSTA — State Rep. Michael Perkins won the Republican nomination for state Senate District 16 after state officials turned to ranked-choice voting Thursday to confirm his vote tally over Kevin Kitchin.

Perkins received 922 votes to Kitchin’s 845, or 52% to 48%.

The ranked-choice tabulation was the only one in Maine following Tuesday’s elections, according to state officials.

Perkins earned 44% of the vote Tuesday to lead Kitchin and a third candidate, Mark Andre. The ranked-choice count was automatically triggered because no candidate reached the 50% threshold to be declared the winner.

Perkins and Kitchin attended the count Thursday at the Burton M. Cross Building in Augusta. Election officials unsealed the memory devices with ballot information from each of the towns in the district: Albion, Fairfield, Oakland, Waterville and Winslow.

The information was uploaded to a computer and officials checked the votes again, all of which were found to match the original results. Because Andre was the third-place candidate, the votes cast for him were redistributed to the other two candidates.

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Of the 335 ballots for Andre, only 188 voters had listed a second-choice candidate. Some of them did not rank a second candidate, and some voted for Andre as the first and second choice on the ballot.

After Thursday’s count was completed, Kitchin thanked election workers for their work and said running for the nomination had been a rewarding experience.

Perkins said he felt “awesome” after the count, and while he ultimately won the nomination, he emphasized he still opposed ranked-choice voting.

Perkins is to face Democratic nominee David LaFountain in the general election in November, when state elections will not use ranked-choice voting but federal races will.

Senate District 16 was reconfigured, particularly its northern and western boundaries, following the 2020 redistricting done by the Maine Legislature.

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