For the first time since he was elected to the Brattleboro Selectboard in 2013, David Schoales faced a contested race.
For the first time since she was elected to a one-year seat to the board last year, Elizabeth McLoughlin was trying to win re-election, as she went after the three-year seat that had been won twice by Schoales.
Two worthy incumbents trying to win one three-year seat on the Selectboard, with another newcomer, Rikki Risatti, also in the electoral mix.
In the end, McLoughlin was the winner in the March 3 town elections and, in the process, received the most votes of the seven candidates running for the three seats. She got 1,838 votes for the three-year seat, while Schoales got 1,255 and Risatti got 203.
McLoughlin said the contest for the three-year seat was proof that “democracy works best when voters have choices.”
McLoughlin said that her candidacy for the three-year seat created two benefits for the electorate: a contested election, and space for other candidates to compete over her vacant one-year seat.
Incumbent Daniel Quipp (1,652 votes) and newcomer Ian Goodnow (1,455 votes) were the winners of the four-way contest for the two one-year seats. Oscar Heller was third with 1,279 votes, followed by Kurt Daims (811), and Risatti, who was also running in that race (426).
In Jamaica, Halifax, Marlboro, Newfane, Putney, Vernon, and Wilmington, there were no contested races for town office. Some highlights from other towns follow.
Rockingham: more contests
Rockingham also had a pair of contested Selectboard races as incumbent Susan Hammond retained her three-year seat, receiving 546 votes, while Ben Masure got 437 votes and Stefan Golec picked up 232 votes.
Masure and Golec also ran for their respective one-year seats on the Selectboard. Masure was the top vote-getter with 687 votes. Golec held his seat with 513 votes, while newcomer Michelle O'Hayon received 481.
Rockingham voters also approved a $10.88 million town school budget (619-381), a $7.28 million budget for Bellows Falls Union High School (663-338), and a $2.98 million budget for River Valley Tech Center (753-237).
Dummerston: write-in wins board seat
Contrast the Selectboard races in Brattleboro and Rockingham with the race for a two-year Selectboard seat in Dummerston, where no candidate had taken out nomination papers.
In an unusual write-in race - ultimately, the only contested race on the ballot - David Baxendale received 81 votes to win the seat. Former Selectboard member Lewis White received 36 votes.
Two contests in Grafton
Grafton had contested races for Selectboard as incumbent Joe Pollio won re-election against Ron Pilette (166-105) and John Gregory won a two-year term) over Carol Lind by a vote of 156-113.
Windham ousts longtime school board chair
In Windham, longtime town School Board Chair Carolyn Partridge lost her re-election bid for a three-year seat to Russ Cumming, 66-44.
Voters also rejected a $535,075 school budget for the 2020-21 school year, a sharp increase over the current $450,039 budget to fund Windham Elementary School, which serves 19 students.
Whitingham: incumbent holds seat
In Whitingham, incumbent Craig Hammer won re-election to the Selectboard, defeating challenger David Dumaine, 206-141. Incumbent Scott Reed and newcomer Phil Edelstein both ran unopposed for their respective spots on the Selectboard.
Westminster Selectboard member reelected
Longtime Selectboard member Toby Young won re-election in Westminster, defeating challenger John Jones, 564-357.
In Athens, appointee stays on board
Athens elected James Trimble to the Selectboard for a one-year term. Trimble, who was appointed to the board last year, defeated former board member Dennis Mirante.