Republican drops recount request

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Republican incumbent dropped his request for a recount Friday in the first congressional race in U.S. history held under a system by which voters rank candidates in order of preference.

The announcement by Rep. Bruce Poliquin came a day after a federal judge tossed out his challenge of the candidate-ranking system.

Poliquin lost his re-election bid to Democratic State Rep. Jared Golden in November. He requested the recount, which had been taking place in Augusta.

But on Friday, Poliquin tweeted that he believes it’s important to end the recount, in part because of the coming holidays. He also said he’s still evaluating the possibility of appealing the judge’s decision on the constitutionality of the candidate-ranking system.

Poliquin said there are still “unanswered questions” on the use of the new method, often called ranked-choice voting.

“Maine people continue to write and approach me with grave concerns over rank voting,” he tweeted. “I understand their concerns, and the need for our elections to be transparent and fair.”

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap confirmed on Friday that the recount is over, and “for all practical purposes this election is concluded” with its cessation. He added that Poliquin has a right to appeal Judge Lance Walker’s federal court decision, but “the District Court’s ruling makes it legally clear that it is not unconstitutional to lose an election.”

But Poliquin wasn’t conceding defeat. The statement insisted that he had “the largest number of votes on Election Day.”