GOP primary for lieutenant governor: Despite close race, no recount

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,” 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).

Merrill reported that 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 Somers and 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,” Merrill said.

Somers issued a statement in which she thanked her opponents and said she and the Republican nominee for governor, Tom Foley, “will bring an outsider’s approach to transforming Connecticut and reopening the state for business. We both come from a business background and will make the hard choices to get spending under control in Hartford.”

Bacchiochi, the Republican endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor, thanked her supporters and pledged to work for the party ticket despite her loss to Somers.

“This was not the result we had hoped for, that we had worked so hard for the last 17 months. But I fully accept the will of the Republican voters,” Bacchiochi said.

“I believe that the wisest decision for our party is to accept the results and get back to work on delivering a Republican victory in November,” she added.

Walker issued a written statement in which he, also, pledged to support the winner of the primary. “There is no question in my mind that Connecticut cannot afford another four years of [Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s] administration,” he said.

“If anything, this close election result stresses the point that every vote truly does count,” Merrill said in her post-election statement. “I congratulate all the winners from yesterday’s primaries and look forward to an exciting general election in November.”