Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was finally re-elected on Thursday, carried over the finish line by a friendly state legislature after he failed to secure an outright victory last November.
The Democrat won a third two-year term with 110 of 179 votes cast by secret ballot in a joint assembly of the Democratic-majority House and Senate. Republican Scott Milne won 69 votes.
The legislature needed to intervene after Shumlin took 46.4 percent of the statewide vote last November, less than the majority of votes required for victory under the state constitution. Milne won 45.1 percent of the vote and didn't concede the election, as previous runners-up had done. The Shumlin-Milne election was unexpectedly close in a Democratic-friendly state where Shumlin easily won a second two-year term in 2012.
That Shumlin needed a lifeline from the state legislature underscored his and the Democratic Party's difficulties in the 2014 election. Shumlin led the Democratic Governors Association during the 2014 campaign, when Republicans won 24 of the 36 contests, almost picking off Vermont in the process. Republicans now hold 31 of the 50 governorships.