Election results are in, but the race for governor may not be over. Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, declared victory Wednesday, but Republican challenger Scott Milne called that premature Thursday. Unofficial results from The Associated Press, with 100 percent of the vote counted, show Shumlin with 46 percent (89,874) of the vote and Milne with 45 percent (87,786) — a margin of just 2,088 votes. By historical standards that would be a safe margin for any potential recount, but Milne says he may still ask for one. Milne tells WCAX he has no plans to address the public until he gets more information about the final results, but he did release a statement to the press Thursday afternoon. Click here to read it. As long as neither candidate ultimately secures more than 50 percent of the ballots cast, the power to pick the state’s next Governor will fall to the legislature. When rookie and veteran lawmakers arrive for work at the Statehouse this January, picking a Governor will be one of their first tasks.
Shumlin secured a thin lead over Milne at the polls election night. But, because neither received more than 50 percent of the vote, the selection of Vermont’s next governor will hinge on secret ballots cast by lawmakers Jan. 8. That selection has been a rubber stamp for the candidate that received the most votes since the Civil War.
“I’ve always instructed my caucus to represent their constituents,” said Rep. Don Turner, R- Milton, minority leader Turner says this year’s selection may not be as straightforward. He’s considering encouraging lawmakers to vote for the candidate that won their area, regardless of political affiliation.
“The constitution says it’s the legislators’ responsibility to represent their constituency, so we hope that’s what happens and that the party line doesn’t come into this,” said Turner. Milne received higher vote totals in nine of Vermont’s 14 counties. Shumlin won five counties, Chittenden, Addison, Windsor, Windham and Bennington.