Turnout may have been light in the Aug. 12 Republican primary, but one of the races — for lieutenant governor — was too close to call until the day after polls closed. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill released a statement Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 13, in which she verified that Heather Somers was the winner of the three-way contest and that even though it was tight, it was not close enough to trigger an automatic recount. “Under state law, an automatic close vote recount is triggered for a statewide primary if the margin between the candidates is either … less than 0.5% of the total votes cast, but not more than 1,000 votes; or … less than 20 votes,” Ms. Merrill said in the release.
The secretary of the state, the state’s chief elections official, said a total of 78,421 votes were cast in the primary for lieutenant governor. “Therefore, the margin between the candidates required to trigger an automatic statewide recount would be 393 votes, (0.5% of the total votes cast). Ms. Merrill reported that Ms. Somers received 27,083 votes (34.5%), candidate Penny Bacchiochi received 26,312 votes (33.6%), and David Walker received 25,026 votes (31.9%).
The margin between Ms. Somers and Ms. Bacchiochi and Somers was 771 votes. “While this margin is less than 1,000 votes, it is greater than the 393 vote margin of 0.5% of the total votes cast for lieutenant governor. So while this is an incredibly close result … it is not close enough to trigger an automatic statewide recount in the race. Therefore, I have determined that there will be no statewide recount of the votes for lieutenant governor,” Ms. Merrill said.