Democrats Deliver Very Narrow Decision In Race For Governor

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(Host) Vermont Democrats delivered a very narrow decision in their party’s primary for governor.

Unofficial media counts of the results show that Peter Shumlin attracted almost 200 more votes than Doug Racine.

Shumlin says that’s good enough for a win. Racine says that’s premature.

The outcome is so close that there could be a recount

VPR’s Ross Sneyd has this report from the Democrats themselves.

(Sneyd) This primary campaign has been extraordinary in many respects, from the number of candidates, to the amount of money they raised and spent.

And now the outcome is so close that almost no one wants to say for sure who won.

Almost no one. Senate President Peter Shumlin is happy to call it as he sees it.

(Shumlin) "Well, all I can tell you is we’re looking at the numbers. It appears that we’ve won. We believe that we have won. And we’re going to go forward and beat Brian Dubie so we can create jobs and get Vermonters back to work. The stakes are so high in this election."

(Sneyd) Shumlin was careful not to claim victory. But he also makes clear that he’s ready to get on with the general election campaign.

(Shumlin) "We’re gonna roll up our sleeves and go forward on the basis that we have a campaign to run. We’re going to go out and beat Brian Dubie."

(Sneyd) But these results are agonizingly close for state Senator Doug Racine. He argues that there’s no reason not to wait a little bit longer to make sure that the media organizations that counted the votes got it right.

(Racine) "I think there’s reason to wonder if they’re all accurate because of the process. It’s late at night. There are numbers that are phoned in from the town and city clerks to the Associated Press. They have to be written down and put into their system. There’s room for error."

(Sneyd) Racine says he’ll wait for official word from the secretary of state’s office about the outcome before he decides whether to concede or ask for a recount.

Ironically, that official word will come from the office headed by the woman who finished third in the governor’s primary.

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says town clerks are sending their vote totals to her staff. The votes will then be tabulated for a preliminary official statewide count. That should be complete as early as Friday.

But it won’t be certified as final until Tuesday when the Canvassing Committee meets.

Before that happens, party elders are trying to draw Democrats together. All five of the gubernatorial candidates appeared at a unity rally in Burlington, but none spoke from the podium.

Congressman Peter Welch and Senator Patrick Leahy were left to rally the faithful. Here’s Senator Leahy.

(Leahy) "Even though the results are not yet certain, I am certain of one thing. Our nominee is going to be the best choice to lead our state. Our nominee is going to have my full and daily and constant support from one end of this state to the other. And the full support of everybody here."

(Sneyd) Leahy’s sentiment was clearly the hope of all the Democrats gathered at the old Union Station in Burlington. But most said, it’s going to take some time.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

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