- Courtesy of candidates
- Erhard Mahnke and Martine Gulick
Martine Larocque Gulick narrowly nabbed a Democratic nomination for a Chittenden County Senate seat Friday after a recount confirmed her win over challenger Erhard Mahnke.
The hours-long recount awarded Gulick 3,948 votes to Mahnke's 3,944, widening her margin of victory from the two votes reported on election night to four. Unofficial totals from the August 9 Democratic primary showed Gulick with 3,949 votes and Mahnke with 3,947. Both are Burlington residents.
"I'm really glad that it's over. It was interesting to watch the process, and I have faith in the process," she said. "A weight has been lifted."
But on Monday, Mahnke released a statement saying he had decided not to pursue the matter and had called to congratulate Gulick on her win.
"This has been a tough loss, but I am confident in the recount results," Mahnke's statement said. "Vermont is at a critical juncture and faces enormous challenges, from affordable housing and economic inequality to climate change and racial and social justice. I wish [Gulick] the best in helping Chittenden County and our entire brave little state face those challenges."
The recount solidifies the slate in the running for the three-seat district ahead of the November general election. Sen. Phil Baruth (D/P-Chittenden) and Rep. Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D-Essex Town), won Democratic nominations, while Infinite Culcleasure of Burlington, a former Queen City mayoral candidate, is running as an independent. There are no Republicans in the race.
- Courtney Lamdin ©️ Seven Days
- Election officials recounting ballots
Friday's recount started just after 9 a.m., when officials removed the Progressive and Republican ballots from the stack. Both Gulick and Mahnke had a team of 10 volunteers sort the remaining Democratic ballots into piles of 50, then tally the votes for each candidate. The totals were double-checked before being run through a tabulator.
One additional ballot from Burlington that wasn't counted on election night was added to Friday's total. After voting ended on August 9, city election officials found the ballot in an envelope for walk-in absentee ballots from Ward 4. On Friday, it went for Mahnke, Franco said.
The process wrapped up just before 3 p.m. Chittenden County clerk Anne Williams congratulated the volunteers for finishing what she said was one of the faster recounts she's overseen. The room erupted into applause.