MERIDEN— The winner of the City Council at-large race is likely headed to a recount after Republican Lenny Rich bested Democrat David Salafia by only 35 votes.
The council’s at-large race had four candidates and the seats go to the top two vote getters. Democrat incumbent David Lowell was the overall vote getter Tuesday and the race between Salafia and Rich is for second place.
According to unofficial numbers, Salafia received 3,796 votes and Rich garnered 3,831 votes, leaving a margin of 35 votes, enough for an automatic recount. State election laws say an automatic recount is triggered when the margin between the candidates is .5 percent of the total vote, which in this case is 38 votes, or less than 20 votes.
Neither candidate was available for comment Wednesday.
Chairman of the Republican Town Committee Daniel Brunet said he went to a meeting with representatives from both parties at City Hall to review the polling tapes late Tuesday. Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Mildred Torres-Ferguson was also there.
“It looks like it’s going to be an automatic recount and that might happen within the next week,” Brunet said. “Generally, these things don’t deviate more than three to four votes. So, I’m not fearful that the outcome will change and expect Len (Rich) to become a member of the council.”
If Rich’s victory stands, it means a gain for the Republicans to three members on the 12-member council, two We The People members and seven Democrats. It also means Democrats no longer have enough votes to override mayoral veto.
City Clerk Irene Masse said Wednesday she’s 99 percent certain there will be a recount.
City Council Majority Leader Brian Daniels said he hadn’t done any calculations himself, but if the 35 vote margin is correct, the results will likely be recounted.