Balint wins U.S. House seat in historic victory
Poll worker Jody Seaver talks with a voter turning in her early voting ballot in-person at American Legion Post 5 in Brattleboro.

Balint wins U.S. House seat in historic victory

Scott wins fourth term as governor, Welch cruises to big win in U.S. Senate race, Harrison and Hashim poised to represent Windham County in Vermont Senate

BRATTLEBORO — A woman's place is in the House...of Representatives.

Vermont made history on Election Day as Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint, D-Brattleboro, cruised to an easy victory in her race for the state's lone Congressional seat.

Balint became the first woman - and the first openly gay woman - Vermont has sent to Congress, when she trounced Republican Liam Madden of Rockingham. Vermont had been the last state to never have had a woman represent it on Capitol Hill.

With about 90 percent of the statewide vote counted at press time, Balint had 60% of the vote to Madden's 27.4%

Ericka Redic of Burlington, representing the Libertarian Party, and independents Matt Druzba of South Burlington, Adam Ortiz of Rutland City, and Luke Talbot of Island Pond barely mustered a combined 10% of the vote.

Balint made American Legion Post 5 on Linden Street her first campaign stop on Election Day morning. She said she was up at 5:15 a.m., and after walking her dog, having breakfast, and kissing her wife and two children goodbye, she was at the Legion to greet her friends and neighbors casting ballots.

After stops in Hartford, Randolph, Barre, and Burlington, Balint joined fellow Democrats at their victory party in Burlington.

In a statement released after she was declared the winner by The Associated Press, Balint said she was “humbled, grateful, and excited beyond measure to be your Congresswoman-Elect. Tonight we reaffirm that Vermont, and this nation, is still a place where anything is possible. We're still capable of change and progress.”

She also promised that she would “fight for Vermont values with everything I have, including climate action, universal health care, livable wages, reproductive rights, the safety of queer and trans people, racial equity, common sense gun laws, and a better life for the next generation.”

Welch wins easily

The House seat became open when Vermont's current Congressman, Democrat Peter Welch of Richmond, decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat that became open with the announcement of the retirement of longtime Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy earlier this year.

Welch easily defeated Republican challenger Gerald Malloy of Weathersfield, a retired Army officer and political newcomer who had been endorsed by former President Trump.

The early margin was so overwhelming that The Associated Press declared Welch the winner shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Welch was leading with 67% of the vote to Malloy's 28.4%

As was the case in the House contest, the third-party and independent candidates - Natasha Diamondstone-Kohout of Dummerston of the Green Mountain (formerly Liberty Union) Party, and independents Mark Coester of Westminster, Stephen Duke of Calais, Dawn Marie Ellis of Burlington, Cris Ericson of Chester, and Kerry Patrick Raheb of Shelburne - picked up a combined total of about 4% of the vote.

In a written statement issued after the race was called, Welch said he was “excited and honored” to have been elected.

“It's been an incredible privilege to have served Vermont in the U.S. House for the past 16 years where I've worked to bring the 'Vermont way' of mutual respect, civility, and finding common ground to Washington, D.C.,” Welch said. “I am ready to bring that approach and get to work on day one in the Senate to address the urgent challenges we face - higher prices hurting our working families, a climate in crisis, reproductive rights under threat, and an imperiled democracy.”

Scott wins again

Despite a late surge by Brenda Siegel of Newfane, who was running as the nominee of both the Democratic and Progressive parties, Republican incumbent Phil Scott easily won his fourth two-year term as governor, garnering 72.7% percent of the vote to Siegel's 23.8%

Independents Peter Duval of Underhill, Kevin Hoyt of Bennington, and Bernard Peters of Irasburg together got about 5% of the vote.

Siegel began her Election Day by casting her ballot at the NewBrook Fire Station in Newfane. She estimated that she drove more than 35,000 miles campaigning around Vermont, and she managed to wear out a pair of of shoes in the process.

“It's been a journey,” she said on leaving the fire station. “No matter what happens, we left it all on the field.”

Democrats seek sweep of other statewide offices

Scott's victory was shaping up to be the only one for Republicans running for statewide office, as Democrats were set to sweep all the other races.

• Former Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman of South Burlington, running as the nominee of both the Democratic and Progressive parties, was poised to return to the State House. He was leading state Sen. Joe Benning, R-Lyndonville, with 51.11% of the vote to 40.48% for Benning.

Ian G. Diamondstone of Putney, the Green Mountain Party candidate, got less than 3% of the vote.

• In the race to succeed retiring Secretary of State Jim Condos, longtime state Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, D-Bradford, easily defeated perennial Republican candidate H. Brooke Paige of Washington, Vermont, 60.79% to 33.43%.

• Paige also ran for state treasurer, a post that became open with the decision earlier this year of current Treasurer Beth Pearce not to seek another term.

He fared no better against Winooski Democrat Mike Pieciak, who won that contest. Pieciak, who grew up in Brattleboro and formerly headed the state Department of Financial Regulation, had a 62% to 33% lead over Paige, who provided only token opposition.

• Acting Attorney General Charity R. Clark, running as the Democratic nominee, earned a big win against Republican nominee Michael Tagliavia of Corinth for the attorney general post, which opened with the resignation of T.J. Donovan earlier this year.

Clark had a 63.3% to 36.7% lead over Tagliavia at press time. She becomes the first woman elected to Vermont's highest law enforcement office.

• Incumbent State Auditor Doug Hoffer, running as the nominee of both the Democratic and Progressive parties, was also cruising to a win over Republican candidate Richard “Rick” Morton of Brattleboro, the current chair of the Windham County Republican Committee, who was also running for state Senate. Hoffer led by a 63.8% to 36.2% margin.

Harrison, Hashim win Senate races

• Nader Hashim of Dummerston, a former state representative, and Wendy Harrison of Brattleboro, the former town administrator of Vernon and Rockingham, were the winners of the two Windham County Senate seats that opened when Balint launched her U.S. House campaign and Jeanette White, D-Putney, announced her retirement.

Harrison was the top vote getter with 22.11%, with Hashim second with 20.17% of the vote.

Brattleboro Selectboard member Tim Wessel, an independent, picked up 7.43%, and Republicans Rick Morton and Richard “Rick” Kenyon, both of Brattleboro, each got about 6% of the vote. Coester, running as an independent, was a distant sixth at 2%.

• In the Windham-1 district of Guilford and Vernon, incumbent Sara Coffey, D-Guilford, held her seat against a challenge from Republican Nancy Gassett of Vernon, 1,335–690.

According to Town Clerk Tim Arseneault of Vernon, 922 of the town's 1,915 registered voters cast ballots, with 491 voters taking advantage of early voting.

Coffey defeated Gassett, 506-403, in Vernon. Guilford's results were reported to the state well after midnight, with The Commons calculating 829 votes for the incumbent and 287 for her challenger.

• In a battle of independent candidates in the newly created Windham-2 district of Dover, Wardsboro, Somerset, Jamaica, and Stratton, incumbent Laura Sibilia of West Dover won by a wide margin over challenger George Wilson of Wardsboro. Silbila had 1,068 votes to Wilson's 454.

• Windham-3, the newly created two-seat district that contains Brookline, Rockingham, and Westminster, had the most crowded field, but first-term incumbents Leslie Goldman, D-Rockingham, and Michelle Bos-Lun, D-Westminster easily won re-election.

Goldman was the top vote getter with 2,300, followed by Bos-Lun with 2,139. Republicans Tyler Austin got 681 votes, while Bonnie DePino of Westminster received 683 votes and independent Ryan Coyne of Rockingham got 346 votes.

• Windham-4, Bos-Lun's former district, now consists of one seat representing Dummerston and Putney.

Incumbent Mike Mrowicki, D-Putney, easily defeated Republican Lynn Kuralt of Dummerston. In Putney, Mrowicki got 951 votes to 197 for Kuralt. According to Town Clerk Jonathan Johnson, 1,195 votes were cast, amounting to 58% percent of registered voters.

In Dummerston, Mrowicki got 810 votes to Kuralt's 253. Town Clerk Laurie Frechette said turnout was at nearly 70%, with 1,087 of the town's 1,596 registered voters casting ballots. There were 880 voters who cast their ballots early.

• With the retirement of Windham-6 Rep. John Gannon, D-Wilmington, two candidates ran for the open seat, and Democrat Tristan D. Roberts of Halifax got a big win over Republican John A. Lyddy of Whitingham to represent the district that covers those two towns and Wilmington. Roberts got 1,203 votes to Lyddy's 658.

• Brattleboro's three Democratic incumbents - Mollie Burke, Emilie Kornheiser, and Tristan Toleno - all won re-election in their respective newly renumbered districts.

In Windham-7, Kornheiser defeated Republican challenger Terry Martin by a margin of 1,210 to 428.

Burke easily defeated Republican challenger Rikki Risatti in Windham-8 by a margin of 1,444 to 163.

Toleno was unopposed in District 9.

• In the newly created Windsor-Windham district of Athens, Chester, Grafton, and Windham, Democrat Heather Chase of Chester defeated Republican Eva Ryan, also of Chester, by wide margin.

• Incumbent Democrat Lamont Barnett of Rockingham and state Rep. Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, who is retiring from the House at the end of the current biennium, won the two county assistant judgeships. Independent Mildred ”Millie” Barry of Westminster came in third.

• Other local House candidates who were unopposed for re-election included Reps. Emily Long, D-Newfane, and Kelly MacLaury Pajala, I-Londonderry.

Also unopposed for re-election for county offices were State's Attorney Tracy Kelly Shriver of Brattleboro, Sheriff Mark R. Anderson of Brattleboro, Probate Judge Jodi P. French of Newfane, and High Bailiff Angela Lawrence of Dummerston - all Democrats.

Constitutional changes approved

• Two amendments to the Vermont Constitution also met with overwhelming approval.

Voters gave their support to Proposal 2, which changes the wording of Article 1, Chapter 1 of the Vermont Constitution to read as follows: “That all persons are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited.”

The vote deletes language in Article 1 that “no person born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to beholden by law, to serve any person as a servant, slave or apprentice, after arriving to the age of twenty-one years, unless bound by the person's own consent, after arriving to such age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.”

Vermont was one of several states around the country that sought to overturn such exemptions from their states' respective constitutions.

• Proposal 5 (also known as Article 22, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment) likewise received considerable support to amend the Vermont Constitution by adding Article 22 to read: “That an individual's right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one's own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”

While the Vermont Legislature passed Act 47 in 2019, which protects the right to choose or refuse abortion and other forms of reproductive care in Vermont, supporters of Proposal 5 maintained that a future Legislature could easily reverse that law.

The proposed amendment now solidifies those protections and includes language that its supporters said was designed to add legal force.

With the vote, Vermont becomes the first state to formally enshrine abortion rights in its constitution.

Many choose early voting

According to the Vermont Secretary of State's Office, city and town clerks received nearly 170,000 early ballots as of Nov. 8.

That figure represents more than half of the total votes that were cast in the 2018 midterm elections. That year, total turnout was 278,230, with 72,222 Vermonters voting early, or about 26% of the vote.

After Vermont lawmakers instituted a temporary universal vote-by-mail system in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state saw 280,455 - about 76% of the total votes cast - choose early voting.

This year marks the first general election since lawmakers voted in 2021 to make universal mail-in voting permanent.

Some town clerks reported confusion by some voters who showed up to vote in person on Nov. 8 but who did not bring the blank ballot that was mailed to every voter. Those voters had to fill out and sign a written affidavit to affirm that they had not already voted.

Official election results will not be available until next week, when the Secretary of State's office is expected to certified the final tally. For unofficial results, visit

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