Eight votes put incumbent Rep. Melvin Newendyke, R-Litchfield, ahead of Democratic challenger Rachel Sukeforth D-Litchfield, in unofficial returns from all three towns in House District 80.

Newendyke got 2,454 votes and Sukeforth 2,446. Because the difference between the two votes is less than 1 percent, Sukeforth can request a recount within five days and without putting up a deposit for it.

The district covers Litchfield, Monmouth, and Wales.

Newendyke, 70, a retired banker and auditor, is completing his first term in the Legislature.

He previously was on the Litchfield Budget Committee and is on the House Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee.

Sukeforth, 27, graduated in 2007 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y. She served on Litchfield’s Housing Rehabilitation Planning Committee.

“I am cautiously optimistic and still very excited,” Sukeforth said Wednesday before heading out to collect her campaign signs. “I’m looking forward to how this process goes. I think it’s a good thing for this community, and I think we’re going to have some robust, thoughtful discussion and it’s a good way for everybody to learn more about government and how it works.”

Newendyke was unavailable by phone early Wednesday.

Here are the totals from each town:

Litchfield:  Newendyke 926; Sukeforth, 921

Monmouth: Newendyke 1,085; Sukeforth, 1,171

Wales: Newendyke, 443; Sukeforth, 354

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