Several state legislative races still too close to call
Election night suspense is not over for everyone.
Across Massachusetts, four races for state representative remained undecided as of Friday, and the wait is on to see whether any of the candidates will seek a recount.
“You have to ask the candidates,” said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Secretary of State William F. Galvin.
Two of the undecided races are for legislative seats representing different parts of Worcester County. One is for a seat representing Amesbury, Salisbury, and Newburyport and another covers the towns of Rockland, Hanover, and Norwell.
The closest race is in the First Essex District, where 11 votes separate Amesbury Republican Jim Kelcourse and Newburyport Democrat Ed Cameron after officials in Newburyport certified 23 provisional ballots Friday morning.
Kelcourse said he’s the winner, but Cameron is vowing to keep up the fight.
“I am not conceding,” Cameron wrote in a message to friends and supporters.
He said he’s contemplating his next move.
“I had no expectation about whether I was going to win or lose and it’s very close,” said Cameron, who has been elected to the Newburyport City Council four times. “I’ll consider the recount so we can have the most accurate counting possible.”
Kelcourse said he is looking ahead to joining the Legislature and working on securing local aid to fund education in the district.
“My first order of business is to get right to work,” he said.
Candidates have until Nov. 14 to petition for a recount and submit the necessary voter signatures, McNiff said. To qualify for a district-wide recount, the margin must be one-half of one percent or less of the total number of votes cast, he said.
Meanwhile, election officials statewide are counting provisional and overseas ballots to get final vote tallies.
At the end of Election Day, state Representative Jon Zlotnik, a Democrat from Gardner, held a 34-vote lead over his Republican opponent Garret Shetrawski, according to Associated Press data.
Zlotnik, 24, said he expects to return to the State House in January to begin his second term representing the Second Worcester District. The district covers Gardner, Winchendon, Ashburnham, and a part of Westminster.
Shetrawski, 20, said he has not decided whether to seek a recount.
“We’re both hometown kids. We worked hard. We ran very good campaigns,” said Shetrawski, a junior at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Shetrawski said he knocked on more than 5,000 doors and benefitted from a “good year for Republicans.”
Zlotnik said he expected the race would be close given polls giving Republican Charlie Baker a lead over Democrat Martha Coakley in the governor’s race.
“It was a really rough election for Democrats and incumbents, and of course I am both of those,” Zlotnik said.
South of Boston, unofficial figures provided Friday by town clerks in the Fifth Plymouth District show Republican David DeCoste holding a narrow lead over state Representative Rhonda Nyman, a Democrat from Hanover. The towns also have provisional or overseas ballots to be considered, the clerks said.
DeCoste, a Norwell selectman, said he had a 45-vote advantage as of Thursday. He said he expects his opponent will seek a recount.
“I won’t declare myself the winner until the results are certified,” DeCoste said.
Nyman did not return messages Friday.
Hanover Town Clerk Catherine Harder-Bernier said DeCoste also faced a close race in his primary contest against Lou Valanzola. In that contest, a recount effort was initiated, but did not come to fruition, Harder-Bernier said.
The race to succeed John J. Binienda Sr., a 14-term state representative from Worcester who died in August, is also up in the air. The seat for the Seventeenth Worcester District represents Leicester and parts of Worcester.
Republican Kate D. Campanale has a 67-vote edge over her challenger, Douglas A. Belanger, according to voting data from the Associated Press. Both candidates are from Leicester.
Worcester City Clerk David Rushford said there are about 100 provisional ballots to consider citywide. It’s unclear how many of those ballots are for the eight precincts that are part of the Seventeenth Worcester District, he said.
Campanale and Belanger did not return messages Friday.