Three candidates who narrowly lost Vermont House races have requested recounts, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
In Rutland-2, a two-member district that includes Clarendon, Rutland, Wallingford and West Rutland, Democrat David Potter requested a recount after finishing seven votes behind Rep. Arthur Peterson, R-Clarendon, who also happens to be his neighbor.
In Grand Isle-Chittenden, a two-member district covering Alburgh, Milton, North Hero and South Hero, Republican candidate Andy Paradee filed for a recount after falling 10 votes short of a seat.
Bruce Busa, a Republican from Readsboro, requested a recount after losing to Rep. Nelson Brownell, D-Pownal, by 26 votes in the Bennington-1 district, which includes Pownal, Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford and Woodford.
The deadline to request a recount was Tuesday, seven days after the Nov. 8 election. Recount results are expected from Nov. 28-30, depending on the race.
Candidates for state representative can request a recount if the difference between the winning and losing candidates is 5% or less of the total votes cast for all the candidates, divided by the number of people to be elected. The threshold is 2% for candidates for federal, statewide and county offices and the state Senate.
In Rutland-2, Rep. Thomas Burditt, R-West Rutland, was the top vote-getter with 2,079 votes. Peterson finished second with 1,952 votes; Potter was third with 1,945; and Ken Fredette, a Democrat, received 1,687 votes. The recount results are expected on Nov. 29.
“I don’t have delusions around it. Seven votes is not a common amount to be made up in a recount,” Potter said. “You’re not going to predict (the results) are going to change but you don’t know unless you do a recount.”
“I was a little surprised at how close the vote was. But I feel confident that seven votes are enough to withstand the recount,” Peterson told VTDigger on Thursday.
In 2020, Peterson ousted Potter from a seat he’d held for more than a decade, winning by 42 votes.
In Grand Isle-Chittenden, where recount results are expected Nov. 30, Rep. Michael Morgan, R-Milton, claimed one seat with 2,241 votes, while Democrat Josie Leavitt won the other with 2,151 votes. Paradee finished third with 2,141 votes, just one vote ahead of Rep. Karin Ames, D-South Hero.
Morgan was elected in 2020, beating Mitzi Johnson, who was the Democratic speaker of the house, by just 20 votes. He has represented the district alongside his uncle, Rep. Leland Morgan, R-Milton, who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate this year.
“It just shows how really evenly divided this district is that we’re all basically within 2% of each other,” Leavitt said.
Leavitt observed that 10 votes don’t “seem like a lot” to her. “This is my first election like this so I have no idea what to expect,” she said.
Neither Morgan nor Paradee returned calls for comment. Ames said she “expect(s) the outcome to be essentially the same.”
In the Bennington-1 district, Brownell received 974 votes while Busa received 948 votes. Neither candidate could be reached for comment Thursday. Recount results are expected on Nov. 28.
Defeated incumbent Bill Bohnyak has also requested a recount in the Orange County sheriff’s race.
Read the story on VTDigger here: Candidates call for recounts in 3 Vermont House races.