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Photo 1

Some of the Liberty Union Party slate appeared at the River Garden on Oct. 18 to meet with voters. From left are Rosemarie Jackowski, Peter Diamondstone, Matthew Andrews, Jerry Levy, and Aaron Diamondstone.

News

An election without buzz?

Low-key campaigns are the rule on a ballot dominated by incumbents

BRATTLEBORO—How do you know that this year’s election is a low-wattage affair?

When the biggest thing that has happened to date is the video from the Vermont Public Television governor’s debate “going viral” on social media, as bloggers around the country write about their amazement at seeing seven candidates sharing the stage and being treated fairly.

But that’s how it has been in Vermont this fall.

Unlike the tumultuous races we’re seeing elsewhere in New England and the rest of the nation, the run-up to the Nov. 4 election has been relatively tranquil here.

There is a seven-way race for governor as two-term incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin of East Montpelier faces Republican Scott Milne of Pomfret, Brattleboro’s Peter Diamondstone from the Liberty Union Party, Libertarian Dan Feliciano of Essex, and independents Cris Ericson of Chester, Bernard Peters of Irasburg, and Emily Peyton of Putney.

In the only major polling in this race, done in early October by the Castleton Polling Institute for WCAX, Shumlin would defeat Milne by a 47 to 37 margin. Feliciano drew 6 percent, and the four other candidates combined for 3 percent. Those five candidates all trail “undecided” at 8 percent.

Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott of Berlin is being challenged by Democrat/Progressive Dean Corren of Burlington and Liberty Union candidate Marina Brown of Charleston.

Castleton’s polling has Scott leading Corren, 58-24, with 15 percent unsure whom they would vote for. Castleton also found that Scott has the support of 91 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents, and 29 percent of Democrats.

Incumbent Democrat Peter Welch of Norwich is running for his fifth term in Congress. He goes up against Republican Mark Donka of Hartford, Liberty Union candidate Matthew Andrews of Plainfield, Energy Independence candidate Jerry Trudell of Charleston, and independents Randall Meyer of Marshfield and Ericson.

No polling has been done for this race, nor has polling been done for the other statewide races, where the incumbents are all heavily favored to win.

Incumbent Democratic/Progressive Auditor Doug Hoffer of Burlington is running unopposed.

Incumbent Democratic Treasurer Beth Pearce of Barre City is facing Liberty Union’s Murray Ngoima of Pomfret and Progressive Don Schramm of Burlington.

Incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos of Montpelier is opposed by Progressive Ben Eastwood of Montpelier and Liberty Union’s Mary Alice Herbert of Putney.

And incumbent Democratic Attorney General William Sorrell is being challenged by Liberty Union’s Rosemary Jackowski of Bennington and Republican Shane McCormack of Underhill.

County races

Most of the House races in Windham County are unopposed, with two exceptions:

Incumbent Democrat John Moran of Wardsboro is being challenged by independents Laura Sibilia and Philip Gilpin Jr., both of Dover, in the Windham-Bennington District.

And incumbent Democrats Carolyn Partridge of Windham and Matthew Trieber of Rockingham face Independent Deborah Wright of Rockingham for the two seats in Windham 3.

Facing no opposition are incumbents Mike Hebert in Windham-1; Valerie Stuart, Mollie Burke, and Tristan Toleno in Windham-2; David Deen of Westminster and Mike Mrowicki of Putney in Windham-4; and Ann Manwaring of Wilmington in Windham-6.

Democratic nominee Emily Long of Newfane is running unopposed for the Windham-5 seat being vacated by Democrat Richard Marek of Newfane, who decided not to run for re-election after 12 years.

And independent candidate Oliver Olsen of Jamaica was to have been opposed for the Windham-Bennington-Windsor district by Progressive Teresa Ellsworth of Londonderry, but Ellsworth died suddenly on Sept. 7. Olsen was appointed to the seat in January 2010 after the death of longtime state Rep. Rick Hube. Olson won the seat outright in 2010 but stepped down in 2012.

It’s a five-way contest for the two state senate seats. Incumbent Democrat Jeanette White of Putney and Democratic nominee Becca Balint of Brattleboro face Liberty Union candidates Jerry Levy of Brattleboro and Aaron Diamondstone of Marlboro and independent Mary Hasson of Brattleboro.

Two Liberty Union candidates, Lynn Russell and Alice Landsman, both of Brattleboro, are challenging incumbent Democrat Patricia Duff and Democratic nominee Paul Kane of Westminster for the two assistant judge seats.

Incumbent Democratic Sheriff Keith Clark of Westminster is being challenged by Liberty Union’s Tom Finnell of Brattleboro.

State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver of Brattleboro, Probate Judge Robert Pu of Brattleboro, and High Baliff Stefan Golec of Rockingham are all unopposed.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #278 (Wednesday, October 29, 2014). This story appeared on page A1.

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