No change in Montville results in 38th District Democratic primary
Montville — Only eight votes still separate teacher Baird Welch-Collins and nurse manager Patrick Murphy after town officials on Monday completed the first half of a two-town recount in a Democratic primary for the 38th District seat in the state House of Representatives.
In the three-way primary, Welch-Collins earned 616 votes combined in Waterford and Montville; Murphy 608; and Nick Gauthier 449. Murphy bested Welch-Collins by 62 votes in Montville, but Welch-Collins commands a 70-vote advantage over Murphy in Waterford.
The eventual winner will face two-term incumbent Kathleen McCarty, a Republican.
Six polling volunteers moderated by Montville Town Clerk Katie Sandberg recounted more than 250 ballots by hand Monday morning and found the same results as last Tuesday’s primary: Murphy 131; Welch-Collins 69; and 56 for Gauthier, a labor and community organizer and political activist.
Officials will recount results at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Town Hall in Waterford, where Welch-Collins earned 547 votes to Murphy’s 477 and Gauthier’s 393.
“It would have been nice to have resolution,” said Murphy in an interview following Montville’s recount. “But since Tuesday my team’s been joking that I’m the calmest one in the group. Everything that could have been done has already been done.”
He added that seeing the race through to the end was a way to ensure “the most vulnerable voters” he met while campaigning will have their voices heard.
Welch-Collins, who earned a party endorsement in the Democratic convention in May, is a member of Waterford’s Representative Town Meeting and a social studies teacher at Norwich Free Academy.
Murphy, who was endorsed by the Montville Town Democrats, is a nurse manager at three shoreline clinics and making his first bid for public office.
Welch-Collins and his campaign leaders say they do not expect primary results to change and are looking forward to a respectful campaign against McCarty. McCarty faced Welch-Collins’ father, Green Party candidate Bill Collins, in 2014.