Racine concedes governor’s race to Douglas

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(Host) Democrat Doug Racine will ask lawmakers in January to elect Republican Jim Douglas as governor. The race will go to the Statehouse, because neither candidate won more than 50% of the vote.

VPR’s John Dillon reports.

(Dillon) Although Doug Racine clearly wasn’t in a mood to laugh, he started his concession statement with a joke.

(Racine) “I want to welcome you all to the fortieth and final debate. It’s been a very long campaign.” (Laughter and applause from crowd.)

(Dillon) The campaign was long, but in the end Racine fell about 6,000 votes short. Racine congratulated Douglas on his victory and said he’ll follow through on his campaign pledge to ask the Legislature to select the winner of the popular vote.

(Racine) “I think what’s so special about Vermont and what I love about Vermont is that we can put our differences aside for the best interests of our state. So I urge the new Legislature and the new incoming administration to work together in a non-partisan way for the best interests of the state of Vermont.”

(Dillon) Douglas joined Racine at the Statehouse and the Republican thanked his opponent for a hard-fought campaign.

(Douglas) “I’ve been on the other end of electoral totals, and I know it’s not an easy task to recognize the numerical reality. And it’s particularly meaningful to me to have you come here this morning and invite me to come, and allow Vermont to move forward in the best interests of the state.”

(Dillon) Polls showed Douglas was behind by as much as 10 points in the final week of the campaign. Douglas says his own polling showed the race was a dead heat, and that he simply worked harder in the final weeks.

The Republican says Vermonters responded to his message that he’ll restore the economy and bring jobs to the state:

(Douglas) “I also believe that Vermonters wanted a change. It’s perhaps not coincidental that this will now, I believe, be eight governors in a row who have been of alternating political parties. I think there’s maybe something subconscious in the electorate that says, ‘You know, somebody ought not to have the opportunity to lead forever. And the baton ought to be passed.'”

(Dillon) Douglas says Racine was gracious in defeat. He thanked him for his years in public service as state senator and lieutenant governor.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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