The 90-year-old Doyle, also a political science professor at Johnson State College, has held the Senate seat since 1969.
Unofficial Election Day results show Doyle came in fourth for three Washington County Senate seats.
Sens. Ann Cummings, a Democrat, and Anthony Pollina, a Progressive/Democrat, won reelection. Democrat Francis Brooks, a former state representative and Statehouse sergeant-at-arms, finished just ahead of the nonagenarian Doyle.
“It’s pretty close,” Doyle said Thursday. “I just think that in general a recount is worth going through.”
Doyle, who has been physically slowed by age in the last few years, said he campaigned as much as ever this year. Voters might have been confused by the appearance of Mike Doyle, also a Republican candidate for a Washington County Senate seat, on the ballot, he said.
Mike Doyle is no relation to Bill Doyle, though the two are friends.
Asked about the possibility that his political career might be over after more than four decades, Bill Doyle didn’t rule anything out. “I’m always optimistic,” he said.
“I have the opportunity to run in two years. I’d have to think about that,” he added
To qualify for a recount, a candidate must file with the state Superior Court by next Tuesday. Statewide and Senate candidates who are within 2 percent of the total votes cast divided by the number of seats in the district can request a recount. Doyle is well within that figure, which comes to about 634 votes.
For House seats, the margin is within less than 5 percent. Director of Elections Will Senning said he’s heard from the campaigns of three House members considering a recount request: Republican Reps. Larry Fiske in Enosburgh and Joey Purvis in Colchester, along with Republican candidate David Ainsworth in Royalton.