Possibility Of Recount Looms Over Governor's Race

08/25/10 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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AP Photo/Toby Talbot
Senate President Peter Shumlin at a Democratic unity rally on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010.
(Host) Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie says a possible recount in the Democratic governor's race won't have an impact on his campaign strategy.

Dubie says he's going to campaign full time even if the recount leaves the outcome of the Democratic race in doubt for several weeks.

VPR's Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Based on the unofficial results, Peter Shumlin won the Democratic primary by just under 200 votes out of more than 70 thousand votes cast.

The big question is whether or not runner up Doug Racine will call for a recount - under state law it's possible to ask for a recount if the margin of victory is less than 2 percent - the margin in this race is well below this threshold.

Despite the closeness of the race, Middlebury College political science professor emeritus, Eric Davis says he'll be surprised if Racine calls for a recount:

(Davis) "If the lead is getting close to 200 votes I believe Peter Shumlin could legitimately claim that he won the Primary...you might see a change of 30 or 50 votes in a recount but that's not enough to overturn an approximately 200 vote lead."

(Kinzel) And Davis says a recount, which could take several weeks to complete, would hurt the Democrats' efforts to win the governor's office:

(Davis) "That would mean the Democratic nominee would lose two valuable weeks of campaign time, time during which he could raise money organize begin to get his message out.  Meanwhile Brian Dubie is going to be doing campaign events."

(Kinzel) UVM political science professor Garrison Nelson agrees that a recount would be detrimental for the Democrats:

(Nelson) "This is the worst possible scenario that could have occurred and they're stuck with it and they should have anticipated this...so Brian doesn't have to gear up for a debate for weeks now sometimes it's better to be lucky than good and he may be in that category right now."

(Kinzel) Republican candidate Brian Dubie insists that the Democrats' situation won't affect his own campaign plan:

(Dubie) "I'll just keep working on my positive message about how we can make Vermont which is a great state an even better state and I look forward to when the other side picks their opponent having that discussion."

(Kinzel) And Dubie says he's confident that upcoming debates will highlight the differences between his campaign and the eventual Democratic nominee:

(Dubie) "As soon as the other side decides who their nominee is I understand there may be some confusion there but as soon as that's done I look forward to debating either senator Shumlin or senator Racine's record."

(Kinzel) The first gubernatorial campaign debate was scheduled for Thursday night - but organizers say they will postpone it to a later date when it's clear who the Democratic nominee is going to be.

For VPR News, I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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