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Voters across the Third Middlesex District of Massachusetts are waiting to learn who will be their Congressional representative as the number of votes cast was too close to call by midday, Sept. 5.
A race for the seat being vacated by Niki Tsongas attracted 10 Democratic candidates this election season. But in the Sept. 4 state primary, it came down to just two neck and neck racers: Dan Koh of Andover and Lori Trahan of Westford.
At one point on the morning of Sept. 5, regional broadcasters said the margin was only 52 votes apart in Trahan’s favor. Trahan seemed to claim victory as early as primary night, when she took to the podium at a gathering of supporters and proclaimed herself a winner. She backtracked later, saying “she was confident” she was the winner of the race.
On the morning of Sept. 5, Secretary of State William Galvin ordered all ballots sealed and locked away to avoid tampering. An unconfirmed report said 100 uncounted ballots in Lowell were discovered. Westford’s Town Clerk, Patty Dubey, stated her office had not yet been required to recount ballots. An unidentified woman in the Chelmsford Town Clerk’s office said the same.
In Westford, Trahan got 1,459 votes and Koh, 648 votes. A total of 3,320 votes were cast in Westford. Barbara L’Italien of Andover came in a distant third with 354 votes and Rufus Gifford of Concord got 314 votes in Westford. [Click here for all results.]
District wide, Trahan got 18,368 votes to Koh’s 18,316, according to a report by WBUR.org.
Koh did not concede.
If a recount is requested, Koh or Trahan must file with the registrars of voters within three days of the primary. The filings must then be submitted to the Secretary of State by the seventh day after the primary election. To qualify, the margin of victory cannot be more than one-half of one percent (0.5 percent) of the votes cast. There are 4.5 million registered voters in Massachusetts, but it’s not clear how many turned out on Sept. 4.
The Third District covers Essex, Worcester, and Middlesex Counties, including Westford where Trahan lives and Lowell where she grew up. Trahan is the former chief of staff for former U.S. Congressional Rep. Marty Meehan. Koh is Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s former chief of staff.
The winner will face Republican Rick Green of Pepperell.