The final vote count from Tuesday’s election left Republican Scott Milne more than 2,000 votes shy of Gov. Peter Shumlin.
But Milne said Thursday that he’s not ready to concede. He’s considering asking for a recount. And – because the vote has to go to the Legislature – he’s looking at lobbying lawmakers for their support.
Milne said before the election that he was running a boring campaign – a tactic he wasn’t apologetic about.
And while many Vermonters thought Milne’s campaign style would make for equally boring election results, the contest took a strange turn two days after the final vote was cast.
Although Shumlin declared victory Wednesday afternoon, Milne said the announcement was premature. He said it’s even possible the votes were counted wrong, and his 2,000-vote deficit could turn into a win in a recount.
“It’s plausible, clearly,” he said of a recount win. “What we’re saying is we’re leaving all the options on the table, we’re listening to folks, and we’ll come up with a plan.”
The possibilities open to Milne are expanded by the fact that neither he nor Shumlin received more than 50 percent of votes on Tuesday.
Because of that, the state constitution requires that the Legislature choose the next governor from among the top three vote-getters.
But does Milne really have a shot of winning in a legislature made up mostly of Democrats?
Milne thinks so.
“Before we’re Republicans or Democrats, we’re Vermonters,” he said. “And we’re all, I hope, going to look at the facts and think about the future and do what we think is best for Vermonters."
Milne said his team is looking at the state’s legislative districts to see which lawmakers might be compelled by their constituencies to choose him.
“I think that’s going to be telling as we move forward over the next few days,” he said.
Milne has repeatedly used the fact that most voters were against Shumlin as evidence that he has a shot at becoming governor. He also blamed Libertarian candidate Dan Feliciano for his second-place finish.
Shumlin campaign manager Scott Coriell said by email: "Scott Milne has to decide what’s right for him to do, given that the results show the governor won the most votes in this election."
But none of the factors stacked against Milne – including the vote count – seem to shake the Republican's confidence that his campaign will prevail.
“It’s been a great part of my life,” he said. “And I’m optimistic we’ll have a new governor in 2015.”