Candidates call for recounts in 3 Vermont House races

A voter casts his ballot in Montpelier on election day, Tuesday 8th November. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Three candidates who narrowly lost the races at Vermont House have requested a recount, according to the State Department.

In Rutland-2, a two-member district that includes Clarendon, Rutland, Wallingford and West Rutland, Democrat David Potter requested a recount after winning seven votes behind MP Arthur Peterson, R-Clarendon, who happened to be his neighbor is too.

In Grand Isle-Chittenden, a two-head district that includes Alburgh, Milton, North Hero and South Hero, Republican nominee Andy Paradee requested a recount after falling 10 votes short of a seat.

Readsboro Republican Bruce Busa requested a recount after losing by 26 votes to Rep. Nelson Brownell, D-Pownal, in Bennington-1 District, which includes Pownal, Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford and Woodford.

The deadline to request a recount was Tuesday, seven days after the November 8 election. Recount results are expected between November 28th and 30th, depending on the race.

Candidates representing a country may request a recount if the difference between the winning and losing candidates is 5% or less of the total votes cast for all candidates divided by the number of people to be elected. The threshold is 2% for applicants for federal, state and district offices as well as the state senate.

In Rutland-2, Rep. Thomas Burditt, R-West Rutland, was the front runner with 2,079 votes. Peterson was 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 November 29.

“I have no delusions about it. Seven votes is not a common total to be recounted,” Potter said. “You’re not going to predict that (the results) are going to change, but you don’t know unless you do a recount.”

“I was a little surprised how close the vote was. But I’m confident that seven votes will be enough to withstand the recount,” Peterson told VTDigger on Thursday.

In 2020, Peterson ousted Potter from a seat he had held for more than a decade, winning by 42 votes.

In Grand Isle-Chittenden, where recount results are expected on November 30, R-Milton MP Michael Morgan claimed one seat by 2,241 votes, while Democrat Josie Leavitt won the other by 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, the Democratic House Speaker, by just 20 votes. He has represented the district along with his uncle, Rep. Leland Morgan, R-Milton, who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate this year.

“It just goes to show how evenly divided this district is that we’re all basically within 2% of each other,” Leavitt said.

Leavitt noted that 10 votes “doesn’t seem like much” to her. “This is my first choice of this kind, so I have no idea what to expect,” she said.

Neither Morgan nor Paradee responded to calls for comment. Ames said she expects the outcome to be essentially the same.

In Bennington-1 District, Brownell received 974 votes while Busa received 948 votes. Neither candidate could be reached for comment Thursday. The results of the recount are expected on November 28th.
Defeated incumbent Bill Bohnyak has also requested a recount in the Orange County sheriff’s race.

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