Recount in 64th house race
Mistakes discovered Tuesday night in two towns have triggered a recount for state House District 64, a week after the Republican candidate conceded to the Democratic challenger.
Just 51 votes separated the two candidates according to the Secretary of the State website Wednesday afternoon — within the 0.5 percent threshold that triggers an automatic recount.
Democrat Maria Horn has 5,876 votes, or 50.22 percent, and Republican Brian Ohler has 5,825 votes, or 49.78 percent, according to the website.
All nine towns that make up the 64th district — Kent, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Norfolk, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon and Torrington — must now recount their results by Friday. Each town will arrange the recount on its own and report to the state.
Last week, Ohler conceded to Horn the day after the election and sent a letter to the editor of Hearst Connecticut Media last week about the concession. It was unclear Wednesday afternoon what his plan was in light of the recount.
Neither Ohler or Horn could be reached for comment.
“As the polls closed and various towns began reporting their numbers it was clear that our race was going to be very close,” Ohler wrote in the letter. “Due to the massive voter turnout and some isolated mechanical issues it took registrars longer than usual to tabulate their numbers. In the end, however, we did come up short in our bid to be reelected for a second term.”
Ohler then went on to commend Horn for her race and reiterated his love and dedication to the Northwest Corner and the people who live there.
Gabe Rosenberg, a spokesman for the Secretary of the State’s Office, said a concession is not an official way to end the race.
Rosenberg said he is unsure what mistakes North Canaan and Norfolk made in reporting the returns.
The officials involved for either town could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Rosenberg also questioned why the errors were found days after the statutory deadline. Towns must give the amended results to the state by the Thursday following the election and the state will announce if there is a recount that Friday.
He said that didn’t happen in this race because the recount wasn’t triggered until this Tuesday.
“It’s not ideal,” Rosenberg said, adding that neither town will face penalties.
Creating jobs that offer higher wages, especially in the Northwest Corner, was the biggest issue for both candidates but they differed on how to do it.
Ohler proposes state incentives for small businesses that hire Connecticut residents, veterans and new graduates from the state’s high schools and community colleges. He also recommended that businesses and companies speak with students early on.
He said there also needs to be more of an emphasis on vocational training at schools.
Horn has said funding education should be the state’s priority, spanning from the K-12 level up through the state colleges so that higher education can be accessible and affordable, as well as making sure community colleges have job training and apprenticeships.
She said small business owners have a lot of expenses and the state should help offset those, including for health care, so they can increase their employees’ wages.