NEWTON (CBS/AP) – The crowded race to fill Joe Kennedy’s Massachusetts Congressional seat was still too close to call Wednesday morning. Jake Auchincloss leads Jesse Mermell by just 1,506 votes in the 4th Congressional District Democratic primary race.
Auchincloss has 33,216 votes to Mermell’s 31,710 giving him a slim one percent lead, 22-to-21, with 96-percent of the precincts reporting.
“While the results of our primary are being calculated, I encourage all voters and candidates to allow the process to comprehensively and lawfully unfold,” Auchincloss, a Newton City Councilor, said in a statement early Wednesday. “While we always expected a competitive race, we are confident that our full-district campaign will be victorious when the results are announced.”
In a statement early Wednesday, Mermell, a former Brookline select board member, said it’s too early to declare a winner and she wants to ensure every vote is counted.
Mermell’s campaign manager sent a letter to city and town clerks Wednesday morning asking them to publicly share information about how many ballots are left to be counted and how many late ballots they have.
“We are asking that publicly reported data be more robust to ensure the unique manner of voting is also reflected in a unique reporting which ensures the campaigns, the media and the public are confident in the results before any decision is made on further counting requests,” she wrote.
A judge approved Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s petition with a state court Wednesday asking for more time for cities and towns to count ballots that they received in time but still hadn’t tallied because of the high volume of mailed votes. Galvin said he will be asking town clerks to count the ballots in a public setting on Thursday to maintain transparency.
The town clerk of Wellesley notified the Elections Division that her staff will be counting the remaining ballots that were received by 8 p.m. Sept. 1 and have not yet been counted on Thursday, Sept. 3, at 9 a.m. The count will take place in the Great Hall at Wellesley Town Hall.
Auchincloss and Mermell, who is a former member of Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, rose to the top of a crowded field of Democratic candidates in the district that stretches from the Rhode Island border to the western suburbs of Boston.
The winner will face Republican Julie Hall, an Air Force veteran, in the November general election. She defeated David Rosa Tuesday night.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)