Republican state Rep. candidate Peter Durant stood against a wall upstairs in Oxford Town Hall on Friday and paused for several moments.
“Yeah,” he finally said.
He had been asked, moments after that town had completed the fifth and final recount in the 6th Worcester District and upheld both his Election Day win there over incumbent Democrat Geraldo Alicea and his razor-thin lead of one vote after the recounts, whether he was officially declaring himself the winner of one of the closes state races in recent memory.
It certainly appeared that way in a Facebook message Durant posted earlier.
“Thank you everyone for your support and help during this election,” he wrote. “It has been an unbelievable experience, and to come out on top by ONE VOTE is beyond comprehension. Thanks again!”
Yesterday’s recount upheld the 614-512 outcome in favor of Durant in Oxford on Nov. 2. In total, counters tabulated 1,167 votes.
“I fully expect Mr. Alicea’s going to bring this court,” said Durant.
That is exactly what Alicea’s camp is going to do, and it will likely be immediately, the sophomore state lawmaker said. At issue is a disputed absentee ballot in Southbridge – the only town of the five where the results change – that, if counted, would be in Alicea’s favor and would tie the election.
A weary-looking Alicea repeated the familiar refrain he has sounded throughout the recount, saying the process was all about making sure every vote counts.
“Technically, the recount’s not done. You have one ballot that needs to be counted,” he said. “You have a person who made the effort to fill it out and vote for his candidate.”
Durant, wearing bags under both eyes and speaking in a voice strained by the near constant tconsulting between lawyers and advisers over the past several days, expressed confidence that even if that vote for Alicea is counted, he will still win.
“There are a couple ballots out there that, if you look at the, they could go for me,” he said.
One ballot in particular, he said, appears to have a mark inside the box next to his name.
“We don’t expect that it’s over,” he said, “but it feels good to get through this.”
It is important, Alicea said, to settle this election sooner rather than later.
“There would be no representation for the 6th Worcester District,” he said, referring to the swearing in date of Jan. 5. “So we want this to move quickly.”
He wouldn’t sound a note of confidence, however.
“It’s premature to feel confident until we hear what a judge has to say,” he said.
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