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Political Notebook

Recount is requested in Vt. primary

Peter Shumlin was congratulated Wednesday when he won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Vermont by a small margin. Runner-up Doug Racine is asking for a recount. Peter Shumlin was congratulated Wednesday when he won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Vermont by a small margin. Runner-up Doug Racine is asking for a recount. (Toby Talbot/Associated Press)
August 28, 2010

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RICHMOND, Vt. — First, it was too close to call. Then it was called. Now, the second-place finisher is second-guessing the call.

An official vote tally confirmed yesterday that state Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin won the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday. Doug Racine responded by requesting a recount.

“We want to know for sure,’’ said Racine, a 57-year-old state senator. “I want to know for sure. He does as well.’’

Shumlin had a 192-vote lead in unofficial results from Tuesday’s five-way race. In official results after a tally by the Secretary of State’s office, his lead grew to 197 votes.

Shumlin, who said he was encouraged by the new vote totals, nonetheless said he respected Racine’s decision to seek the recount.

Under Vermont law, a losing candidate can seek a recount if the margin of victory is 2 percent of the total votes cast in the race — in this case, 1,492 votes or less of the 74,634 ballots cast.

In fact, two candidates could seek the recount. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz finished with 696 votes less than Shumlin, which is within the margin. But she said she had no plans to ask for a recount.

Racine said he would do all he could to expedite the process.

The winner will face Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, who ran unopposed for the Republican nomination.

— Associated Press

Reid support of Kagan costs him NRA backing
WASHINGTON — Senate Democratic leader Harry’s Reid’s support for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees has cost him the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

The NRA is a force in rural states such as Nevada, where many voters own guns and hunt. It’s unclear whether the organization will make any endorsements in the race.

Christopher W. Cox, chairman of the NRA’s Political Victory Fund, said the organization strongly opposed the confirmation of former Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

— Associated Press

Pawlenty fund backs 7 GOP candidates in N.H.
ST. PAUL — In its first two months, a political fund connected to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has contributed to seven Republicans running for New Hampshire offices.

The Freedom First PAC-New Hampshire made $2,000 in total donations and spent thousands more on consultants in the state that holds the nation’s first presidential primary.

According to a new campaign report, the fund raised $42,500. Much of it was from well-known Minnesota donors. Broadcasting magnate Stanley Hubbard and former Target Corp. executive Robert Ulrich each gave $5,000.

Pawlenty’s fund contributed to candidates for state Senate, county attorney, and executive council, including Chris Sununu of the New Hampshire political family.

— Associated Press

In N.H., GOP’s plea to stay positive ignored

CONCORD, N.H. — The head of New Hampshire’s Republican Party has made a second plea to GOP candidates to avoid negative campaigning, but the request is going as unheeded as the first one.

In an op-ed piece this week in state newspapers, GOP Chairman John H. Sununu warned Republican candidates they may not win in November if they attack each other before the Sept. 14 primary.

Republican US Senate candidate Bill Binnie replied that Sununu was too late and that he would defend himself against negative attacks.

— Associated Press