Following a district-wide recount, Democrat Betty Johnson of Lincolnville has won the District 1 Waldo County Commissioner’s seat over incumbent Republican Donald Berry of Belmont by a margin of two votes.

According to a press release from the Secretary of State’s Office, the final tally showed Johnson with 2,883 votes to Berry’s 2,881. Those tallies represent a slight change for each candidate from the unofficial results that were announced following the Nov. 2 election.

According to Deputy Secretary of State John Smith, representatives of both candidates participated in the recount, which took place Nov. 18 in Augusta, and both candidates have signed off on the final, official tallies.

The race has been a nail-biter since Election Night, when early returns showed Berry winning by five votes.

When ballots that had been rejected by the optical scanners in Belfast were tallied and seven military and overseas ballots were added to the totals, Johnson jumped ahead by eight votes.

Berry subsequently requested a recount, which was held Nov. 18 at the Department of Public Safety’s headquarters in Augusta. Both candidates were in attendance for the recount process.

Speaking after she returned from Augusta, Johnson marveled at the roller coaster ride in which she initially appeared to have lost, then watched her margin of victory shift several times, never exceeding 10 votes.

“It’s kind of amazing in a way,” she said. “It’s quite a process.”

Johnson’s term starts in January. She said she was looking forward to serving and planned to work hard.

“I just never let myself believe I had won, and now I guess I can,” she said.

Berry, who has served one four-year term as commissioner and has been the chairman of the County Commission for two years, was initially at a loss for words.

“I don’t know how you explain how you feel when you lose by two votes,” he said. “I’m glad I requested the recount. I guess it just shows that the entire democratic system works.”

Berry said he was surprised to learn that there were nearly 400 voters in the six-town district who did not indicate a preference for either candidate in the county commissioner’s race. District 1 includes the municipalities of Belfast, Belmont, Islesboro, Lincolnville, Northport and Waldo.

The current commissioner said he would continue to work hard through the remainder of his term.

“I think what I’ve done for the last four years is to serve the county very well,” he said. “There will be some people who disagree, but we’ve lowered taxes and we’re going to build a sheriff’s office.”

Berry said both were goals on which he campaigned.

The Waldo County Commissioner’s race was one of seven contests in which the state has undertaken recounts. The other six contests include one Senate district, three House districts, a district attorney’s race and a ballot question.

Of the five recounts that had been completed as of Nov. 18, the Waldo County commissioner’s race has ended with the narrowest margin of victory. But Smith at the Secretary of State’s Office said it was not uncommon for the initial margin of victory in a smaller district — particularly in House races where the total number of votes cast was similar to a county commission race — to be within several votes.