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« Official Tally: Shumlin Beats Racine by 197 Votes | Main | Shumlin, Racine and Markowitz Pledge to Work Together During Recount »

August 27, 2010

VIDEO: Racine Asks for a Recount; Re-Tally Should Take One Week

With only 197 votes separating him from victory, Doug Racine asked for a statewide recount today to determine who won Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Standing outside Town Hall in his hometown of Richmond, just hours after official tallies were released, Racine told reporters that the razor-thin margin of victory tipped the scales toward a recount for him. He said he owes it to his supporters and to all Vermonters to be sure the 74,634 Democratic ballots cast were counted accurately.

The official tally puts Racine 197 votes behind Peter Shumlin, who all but declared victory Wednesday after unofficial tallies put him 190 votes ahead.

"This is about making sure that all Vermonters know their votes were properly counted and that the outcome is the right outcome," Racine said. "It's on that basis — the closeness — that this race should be recounted. It's less than one vote per town in the state of Vermont."

Racine said he spoke with the Secretary of State's office today and was informed the recount should take about a week and could begin as soon as Tuesday, after the vote is legally certified.

Democrats have been split since the nail-biter primary about whether a recount would hurt the party's chances of beating Republican candidate Brian Dubie in November. Dubie faced no primary challenger and has a half-million-dollar war chest on hand for the race.

Racine said today it won't hurt the party's chances. What would hurt, he said, is not having confidence in the result.

"There's a lot of questions because of the closeness of the outcome," Racine said. "People are questioning it and if we did not have a recount, those questions might linger and there might be some hesitation to jump in and enthusiastically support the nominee. This way, there's no question. I believe there will be much more enthusiastic support once it's decided."

"If the vote stays the same — and the odds are probably in that direction — I will join with Peter Shumlin, if he's the winner, and we will campaign together," Racine said. "I will do everything I can to help him, urge my supporters to help him, so that we have a Democratic victory over Brian Dubie come November."

Shumlin released a statement Friday afternoon saying he respects Racine's choice to seek the recount. On Thursday, Shumlin told WDEV-FM's "Mark Johnson Show" that if he were Racine, he would not seek a recount.

"I am encouraged by the unofficial certified numbers released by the Secretary of State today, which show me receiving more votes than the other contenders," Shumlin wrote. "Doug is a great candidate who ran a great race. I understand that Doug is going to exercise his legal right to a recount and I respect his decision."

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz finished third in the primary, 696 votes behind Shumlin, according to the official tally released this afternoon. Markowitz finished within two percent of Shumlin, meaning by law she too could request a recount, but her campaign isn't revealing its plans. She released a statement after Racine's press conference that didn't address a recount, or whether she is conceding she lost the race.

"Although it was not my intention to initiate a recount, I respect Doug's right to do so under the law," Markowitz wrote. "I know this must have been a very difficult decision for him to make. Now the recount process must play itself out according to the law. The recount is overseen by the Washington County Superior Court. I know the courts will proceed as quickly as possible so that the general election campaign can begin in earnest. I know that both Peter and Doug share my values, and the values of most Vermonters, while Brian Dubie does not. Our focus must be to count the votes and move forward quickly so we can beat Brian Dubie and get Vermonters back to work."

At the press conference, Racine said he had spoken with Markowitz and would be surprised if she sought a recount.

"I got a sense that she would probably not ask for the recount," Racine said. "I keep thinking that if something very strange happened in this count, ironically, I mean she's still in the running. What if the numbers changed. Anything could happen."

Racine said he'll do everything he can to make the recount go quickly. As an example, he said he would approve using optical scanners to recount ballots in towns that use the tabulator machines rather having them hand-counted, a prerogative left up to the candidate seeking the recount. Amy Shollenberger, Racine's campaign manager, said Racine will waive the five-day waiting period that normally separates the request for a recount from the start of the tallying.

Asked whether he would have sought a recount if the differential was 300 votes or 500 votes, Racine replied, "I've been speculating about that all week. Other folks have been speculating. I didn't want to put a number on it. This is the number. It's 197. The law allows us 2 percent, which is over 1400 votes."

"Shumlin released a statement Friday afternoon saying he respects Racine's choice to seek the recount. On Thursday, Shumlin told WDEV-FM's "Mark Johnson Show" that if he were Racine, he would not seek a recount.
"I am encouraged by the unofficial certified numbers released by the Secretary of State today, which show me receiving more votes than the other contenders," Shumlin wrote. "Doug is a great candidate who ran a great race. I understand that Doug is going to exercise his legal right to a recount and I respect his decision.""

Flip.

Flop.

Nevermind what I said yesterday.

Recount is in Order

Considering everything at stake, I fully support Doug Racine's decision to request a recount of the Vermont Democratic gubernatorial primary election.

Some rank and file Democrats and also others who voted in the election as well, including some supporters of Peter Shumlin, had stated online that a recount should be done when final unofficial results had not yet been called by the press.

They stated their opinions that it was indeed crucial to make sure all votes were properly counted and accounted for so there would be no doubts of whom got the most votes and is rightly the Democratic nominee.

The fact is the race was way too close, especially knowing how easy it is for things to go wrong during the initial vote counting process in a statewide race, which the state auditors race from several years ago helped to illustrate, when one candidate seemed to win and on a recount another of candidates had been found to have actually received the most votes and had been duly elected.

In addition, since this was a primary election with a lower total of voters, it will not take as long as the aforementioned recount had, so this cannot be an excuse not to do so.

This election is far too important to allow any doubts or questions to linger over it, which would be the case if an official recount was not performed.

Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier

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Sore loser?

Sorry Ted, but getting the "final" vote correct is very important to most Vermonters. I would bet if Peter, Brian or any other politician found him/herself within 0.28% of the winner, he/she, too, would be asking for a recount. It only makes good sense. I want to know that my vote was accurately counted.

One would have to be quite simple minded to see Shumlin's two statements vis-a-vis a recount as a flip flop, Webber. He said he wouldn't do it if he were Racine, but since Racine is doing it, he respects his decision. So what? Your mind isn't supple enough to accomodate those two concepts? Or are you just pining for the good old days of the 2004 Republican convention when the 'flip-flop' thing was all the rage? You obviously want to attack Shumlin, but I'm afraid you'll have to do better than that.

Vote on:

How does a Democratic Gubernatorial primary election recount harm/help general election prospects? (here; via AllOurIdeas).

In addition, add your own ideas via the submission form found on the above page.

Haik,

I'm sure Shumlin appreciates your attempts to add subtlety and context to his repertoire. Considering that he is the most nuance-free, subtlety-free, context-free public orator in recent Vermont history. He speaks as if everything were 100% black-and-white, and there's only ever two options, yes or no, up or down, black or white. His way or the wrong way. His inability to engage in subtlety is particularly painful considering that he himself regularly contradicts what he said yesterday, or a month ago, or a year ago.

If you don't think Shumlin's two statements about the recount are contradictory, then why did Andy Bromage juxtapose them in a two sentence paragraph? Is he also simple-minded and un-supple?

We have a difference of opinion on this (and, apparently on Shumlin in general). Name calling wasn't appropriate.

@ Webber - Give me a break. A "flip-flop"?! the guy is coming off a hard fought campaign and is trying to figure what this historical moment all means. he is excited he's ahead and he wants to stay ahead so he pushes for Racine to concede. After actually having a day, 1 day, to think about it he came to a conclusion that the best way to proceed is by stating his support for Racine's decision. I applaud him for considering all sides of this process and clearly stating what he did.

Geezh, a guy can't even think about something and alter his statement very appropriately. You can have the guy unwilling to do that, I'll stick with Pete.

" . . . is trying to figure what this historical moment all means."

What it means is that "Good Luck Peter" is oh-so-close to his dream of ruling the world and Racine is trying to ruin it for him.

Throughout the campaign, all five agreed to run with some civility in the best interests of the party, and defeating Dubie in November. I think Peter's "flip-flop" is simply him acting in the best interests of his party (and his probable campaign against Dubie) by first promoting himself and then quietly going along with Doug's choice. So no, no "flip-flopping" here in my mind.

Plus, I don't think that anyone, either for Peter or Doug, or any of the other Dems, is going to walk away from the party vote because of the recount. Money and GOTV may be an issue, but any true Dem who voted in the primary is already locked up.

"Considering that he is the most nuance-free, subtlety-free, context-free public orator in recent Vermont history. He speaks as if everything were 100% black-and-white, and there's only ever two options, yes or no, up or down, black or white. His way or the wrong way..."

That's like...your opinion man. You haven't given any examples at all.

No offense to Andy Bromage, but what he chooses to juxtapose does not move me very much.

You have to do better Webber. Explan why were Shumlin's two statements were a "Flip. Flop." How does saying one prefers decision A, but respects decision B a "flip flop?"

Do you even still see it as a flip flop, or do you now see that it wasn't?

By the way, besides the Vermont Democratic primary vote recount making either Peter Shumlin or Doug Racine the nominee (Deb Markowitz's chances are perceived as highly doubtful by most political observers), as highly unlikely as the odds of such occurring were said to be for the primary election, the fourth potential result -- no one else seems to be mentioning as a possibility -- could be a tie (emphasis mine):

§ 2369. Determining winner; tie votes

Persons who receive a plurality of all the votes cast by a party in a primary shall be candidates of that party for the office designated on the ballot. If two or more candidates of the same party are tied for the same office, the choice among those tied shall be determined:

(1) Upon five days' notice and not later than 10 days following the primary election, the state committee of a party, for a state or congressional office; the senatorial district committee for state senate; the county committee for county office; or the representative district committee for a representative to the general assembly shall meet to nominate a candidate from among the tied candidates. (Amended 2010, No. 73 § 1.)

(2) The committee chair shall certify the candidate nomination for the general election to the secretary of state within 48 hours of the nomination. (Added 1977, No. 269 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2010, No. 73 § 1.)

Just saying ...

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