Girard mulling recount request following mayoral primary loss

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Sep. 23—Mayoral candidate Richard Girard is "weighing what happened" and mulling over whether to request a recount in the Manchester primary election, according to an email sent to campaign supporters Wednesday.

Girard placed third in Tuesday's primary election, finishing 128 votes behind second-place finisher Victoria Sullivan.

Official results from Tuesday's city primary show incumbent Mayor Joyce Craig, seeking a third term, topped the ticket in the mayoral primary with 5,481 votes, or 52% of the vote, while Sullivan finished second with 2,546 votes. Girard trailed with 2,418 votes.

The municipal election will be held Nov. 2.

"The 1.2% margin between myself and Victoria Sullivan is just outside the margin for a recount," Girard wrote in an email to supporters. "If the official results shrink the margin down to 1% or less, I will ask for a recount. After what happened in Windham, I think it's prudent to trust, but verify the results."

Girard writes he has been asked the question "What now?" a lot since Tuesday night.

"The honest answer is I don't know," said Girard. "I will be weighing what happened and how best to move forward and will make an announcement in the coming days."

Girard has until Friday to make the request for a recount.

According to City Clerk Matt Normand, the cost of a recount is around $1,000.

The last recount in a mayoral race in Manchester occurred in 2015, when initial election-night results showed then-Mayor Ted Gatsas with a 75-vote lead. That margin grew to 85 votes when the results were made official the next day. The next day, challenger Joyce Craig and members of her campaign staff filed their recount request.

Gatsas emerged victorious from the 10-hour election recount, defeating then-Alderman Craig by 64 votes to secure a fourth term in office.

Gatsas officially received 10,046 votes or 49.74% of the vote, while Craig received 9,961 votes, or 49.32%. A total of 20,198 ballots were cast.

According to the city charter, the Board of Recount is required to set a date for a recount no later than seven days after a request is filed. The candidates, and counsel, will have the right to inspect the ballots and participate in the recount.

William Houghton, Don Goduti, and aldermanic representative Joe Kelly Levasseur currently serve on the Board of Recount, according to the city website.

pfeely@unionleader.com

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