Despite the lack of a winner in Vermont's Democratic gubernatorial primary, the five candidates are planning to appear together at a "unity rally."
With 247 of 260 precincts reporting, 828 votes separated the top three candidates with state Sen. Peter Shumlin leading Sen. Douglas Racine by 173 votes with Secretary of State Deb Markowitz a close third.
If the vote count holds, either Racine or Markowitz could ask for a re-count.
The winner will run in November against Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, who did not face a primary opponent.
The Democratic Party says the rally will be held at noon Wednesday at the train station in Burlington.
Shumlin said it was a result of "an embarrassment of riches that Democrats had to choose from in this primary election."
"Any one of us would make a good governor," he said. "We can understand why the choice is so tough and we knew it was going to be close."
Racine had 16,656 votes, or 25.11 percent; Shumlin had 16,575 votes, or 24.99 percent; and Markowitz had 15,846 votes, or 23.89 percent. Google executive Matt Dunne had 13,794 votes, or 20.79 percent. State Sen. Susan Bartlett trailed with 3,467, or 5 percent of the vote.
"I think that there's still a number of communities out there that are not in the tally," Racine said at about 12:20 a.m. "We'll wait to see what those numbers look like. ... This is pretty close."
Paul Tencher, Markowitz's campaign manager, said, "Like any responsible candidate we're going to wait until all the votes are counted."
Under state law, a candidate who trails the leader by less than 2 percent of total votes cast can petition for a recount, a complicated procedure that would be carried out by special teams gathered at the Washington Superior Court in Montpelier.
That could push resolution of the primary race into September, after lawmakers this year moved it from September to August.
The unresolved race could throw a monkey wrench into plans for a debate Thursday between the Democratic nominee and Dubie.
The narrow margin may have reflected the narrow differences between the candidates and gentle decorum in debates, commercials and media comments.
The five Democrats -- described even by some Republicans as a strong field of candidates -- had been waiting for their turn through the eight years of Gov. Jim Douglas' Republican governorship.
Douglas, who is not seeking re-election, defeated Racine in 2002 and then coasted to re-election in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The five candidates who emerged this year had sat out those last three races.
Each had strong points in the view of voters who supported them.
Dan Shea, 52, a box office clerk from Burlington, said he thought Shumlin "brought the most to the table at this point. I liked his leadership over the years against the Douglas administration."
Desiree Roberts, 25, a Burlington deli clerk, voted for Dunne. "He talks about jobs for younger people in Vermont," he said. "Obviously, for us that's a big deal."
Clayton Butterfield, 79, of Randolph, a retired postal worker, said he made up his mind two or three days ago that he would vote for Deb Markowitz for governor: "I liked her presentation. I read about her in the newspaper and she seemed to be along my line of thinking."