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Recount reaffirms challenger’s win in Orange County sheriff race

  • George Contois (Courtesy photograph)

Published: 11/30/2022 1:47:52 AM
Modified: 11/30/2022 1:45:45 AM

Recounts in the races for Orange County sheriff and a Rutland-area House seat have affirmed the initial outcomes, while results in two other races remain to be seen.

Part-time deputy George Contois won 6,606 votes to Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak’s 6,500, according to a master vote tally provided by Samantha Spinella, Orange County’s court operations manager. The recount widened Contois’s margin of victory by six votes, and was approved by Vermont Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Mann on Tuesday.

“To the citizens of Orange County, fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement. To many of our Legislators and Senators, it has been my honor to work with and serve you all,” Bohnyak wrote in an emailed statement to VTDigger. “My last day as Sheriff of Orange County is January 31st.”

Bohnyak, 65, did not indicate his future plans. He currently serves as president of the National Sheriffs’ Association, and will need to relinquish that role, the Rutland Herald reported.

Bohnyak, who has held the Orange County sheriff position since 2006, had not faced a contested election until this year. He faces a potential reprimand from the Vermont Criminal Justice Council following allegations of delegating investigative work to an improperly certified deputy. The issue came to light after the election.

Contois, a former Vermont State Police trooper who lives in Washington, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.


A recount on Tuesday for the Rutland-2 House race affirmed the initial results, showing voters had reelected incumbents Rep. Thomas Burditt, R-West Rutland, and Rep. Art Peterson, R-Clarendon.

The two-member district covers Clarendon, Rutland, Wallingford and West Rutland. Democrat David Potter requested a recount after finishing seven votes behind his neighbor, Rep. Arthur Peterson, R-Clarendon, in the initial tally. Despite picking up two votes in the recount, Potter nonetheless lost his bid to retake his former post.

Potter held the seat in 2020, when Peterson ousted him by 22 votes.

According to a recount tally provided by Rutland County Clerk Ron Graves, Rep. Thomas Burditt, R-West Rutland, was the top vote-getter with 2,079 votes. Peterson finished second with 1,952 votes; Potter was third with 1,947; and Ken Fredette, a Democrat, received 1,687 votes.

Other recounts

A recount for the Bennington-1 House seat, which covers Pownal, Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford and Woodford, was called for by Republican candidate Bruce Busa after his 26-vote loss to incumbent Rep. Nelson Brownell, D-Pownal.

That recount happened on Monday, but Marya Bossong, Bennington County clerk, said the results won’t be released until a judge approves them. In a signed notice, Superior Court Judge John Valente said a hearing on the recount results will be held Thursday at 3 p.m.

In Grand Isle-Chittenden, a two-member district covering Alburgh, Isle La Motte, Milton, North Hero and South Hero, Republican candidate Andy Paradee filed for a recount after falling 10 votes short of a seat. That recount will happen on Wednesday, according to Karen Gleich, probate register at the Grand Isle Probate Division.

In the district, Rep. Michael Morgan, R-Milton, claimed one seat with 2,241 votes, and Democrat Josie Leavitt won the other with 2,151 votes. Paradee, who called for the recount, received 2,141 votes, just one vote ahead of Karin Ames, a Democrat from South Hero.

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