Richard Scapin seeking recount in Pittsfield's Ward 5 City Council race

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PITTSFIELD — Former City Councilor Richard Scapin, who finished 13 votes behind Donna Todd Rivers Tuesday in the race for Ward 5 councilor, is requesting a recount.

Scapin said he submitted a petition to the registrar of voters office on Thursday with the signatures of 15 voters from Ward 5 — at least 10 are required for a recount. Once the signatures are certified by the registrar, a recount will be scheduled.

"I felt like I owed it to the 730 people who voted for me," Scapin said, adding that he had received multiple calls urging him to seek a recount.

The closeness of the race also was a factor, he said. "If it were 40 or 50 votes I wouldn't bother," Scapin said.

Rivers, who lost by just 16 votes in the 2013 race for an at large council seat, was leading Scapin 743 votes to 730 in the unofficial results posted Tuesday night by the city clerk's office.

"This is his right, and I'm OK with that," Rivers said Thursday. "I will be there, and whatever the outcome is, the voters will have spoken."

But she said the situation request "goes to prove how different we are. I was in his shoes two years ago."

Rivers said she and Councilor at large Barry Clairmont, who finished ahead of her in the 2013 race, discussed the recount option before she decided not to pursue it. She said she hasn't been contacted by Scapin, hearing about his request through other sources.

Scapin served on the Parks Commission for six years and later on the council from 1998-2004, and as council president from 2002-04.

He lost a bid for re-election to Jonathan Lothrop in 2003 and later was defeated in a bid for an at large council seat in 2011.

Lothrop did not seek re-election this year after serving in the Ward 5 seat for 12 years. The outgoing councilor was himself involved in a close election in 2011 that resulted in a recount. That year, he defeated political newcomer, J. Joseph Breault by seven votes, 772-765, following the recount — a gain of one for Lothrop over the election night count.

Both candidates lost votes in the 2011 by-hand recount because four absentee ballots in Ward 5B had been accidentally counted twice by the precinct's voting machine, election officials said. Breault lost two votes, Lothrop lost one, and the fourth absentee ballot was a write-in.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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