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Democratic guberbatorial candidate Christine Hallquist.

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County shows support for Hallquist, but Scott soundly holds governor’s seat

Voters turn out heavily across the state on Election Day despite double the number of absentee and early ballots, compared to 2014 midterms

BRATTLEBORO—Republican Gov. Phil Scott won his second term in convincing fashion on Tuesday night.

Scott, 60, first elected to the post in 2016, defeated Christine Hallquist, a 62-year-old Democrat from Hyde Park. Scott got 55 percent of the vote to Hallquist’s 40 percent.

Hallquist, the former CEO of the Vermont Electric Co-op, was seeking to become the first transgender gubernatorial candidate to be elected governor in the United States.

But she was going up against a long history of Vermont voters favoring incumbents. The last governor to be voted out of office after one two-year term was Republican Ray Keyser Jr., who lost to Democrat Phil Hoff in 1962.

In Windham County, Hallquist did well in the traditionally Democratic strongholds in the Connecticut River Valley, but lost in the more conservative Deerfield Valley. Statewide, she could not overtake Scott in Chittenden County, despite narrowly winning Burlington.

Hallquist won Brattleboro, Bennington, Montpelier, Middlebury, and Hartford. The rest of the major towns supported Scott.

Turnout was heavy throughout the state, even with a record number of early/absentee ballots cast.

According to Secretary of State Jim Condos, nearly 67,000 voters cast ballots ahead of Election Day. That number is more than double the 33,401 early and absentee ballots cast in the last midterm election in 2014.

Also receiving votes for governor were Emily Peyton of Putney from the Liberty Union Party, Stephen Marx of Stafford from the Earth Rights Party, and independents Trevor Barlow of Cavendish, Cris Ericson of Chester, and Charles Laramie of Fair Haven. None of them got more than 1 percent.

The field was less crowded for lieutenant governor, but incumbent David Zuckerman of Hinesburg turned back a challenge from House Minority Leader Don Turner of Milton to win his second term.

Zuckerman, running on the Democratic and Progressive tickets, bested Turner, his Republican rival, by a 58 percent to 40 percent margin. Also receiving votes was Liberty Union’s Murray Ngoima of Pomfret.

In the other statewide races, it was a sweep for the incumbent Democrats.

State Treasurer Beth Pearce of Barre City defeated Republican challenger Richard Morton of Brattleboro, 66 percent to 34 percent.

Secretary of State Jim Condos turned aside his challengers, Republican H. Brooke Paige of Washington and Liberty Union’s Mary Alice Hebert of Putney. Condos got 66 percent of the vote, Paige had 31 percent, and Hebert got 4 percent.

State Auditor Doug Hoffer, also running on the Progressive ticket, defeated Republican Richard Kenyon of Brattleboro, 60 percent to 35 percent. Liberty Union’s Marina Brown of Charleston got 4 percent.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan of South Burlington also won by a wide margin against Republican Jassen Willhoit of St. Johnsbury, 69 percent to 27 percent. Liberty Union’s Rosemarie Jackowski of Bennington got 4 percent of the vote.

In the two congressional races, incumbent independent Bernie Sanders easily won his third term in the U.S. Senate, despite having eight challengers.

This result seemed so preordained that The Associated Press called the race for Sanders just seconds after the polls closed at 7 p.m.

Sanders won 67 percent of the vote. Republican Lawrence Zupan of Manchester picked up 27 percent.

Of the other candidates, independent Brad Peacock of Shaftsbury got 1.4 percent of the vote. Liberty Union’s Reid Kane of Hartford, and independents Folasade Adeluola of Burlington, Russell Beste of Burlington, Bruce Busa of Readsboro, Edward S. Gilbert of Barre Town, and Jon Svitavsky of Bridport all received around 1 percent of the vote.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch won his seventh term in Congress. The incumbent Democrat got 69 percent of the vote. Republican Anya Tynio of Charleston received 26 percent. Ericson, also running for Congress, got 3 percent and Liberty Union’s Laura S. Potter got 1 percent.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #484 (Wednesday, November 7, 2018). This story appeared on page A2.

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