Races emerge in region in state primary election

Many contested races for House seats throughout Windham County, bucking a statewide trend

While the party primaries in Vermont are lacking in drama on the statewide level, Windham County will have many contested races for House seats this year.

Election Day for the primary vote is Tuesday, Aug. 13. Vermont law permits early voting to begin as soon as ballots are available, not later than 45 days before the election (June 29).

The filing deadline for the party primaries was May 30, and the Secretary of State's office has released the candidate lists for the election.

• The Democratic primary contest in Windham-1 to succeed the retiring incumbent Sara Coffey of Guilford will be a face-off between two Guilford residents - Jason Herron and Selectboard member Zon Eastes.

Nancy Gassett of Vernon is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

• Two former Brattleboro Selectboard chairs will face each other in the Democratic primary to succeed the retiring incumbent, Tristan Toleno, with Assistant State's Attorney and Town Moderator David Gartenstein going up against local attorney Ian Goodnow.

William Harvey of Brattleboro is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

• In Windham-3, Democratic incumbents Leslie Goldman of Rockingham and Michelle Bos-Lun of Westminster are unopposed in their party's primary.

Ryan Coyne of Rockingham is unopposed in the Republican primary in Windham-3.

• Emily Carris of Whitingham is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the Windham-6 seat being vacated by retiring incumbent Tristan Roberts.

No Republicans are on the primary ballot for that district.

• In Windham-7, the district that encompasses West Brattleboro, House Ways & Means Committee Chair Emilie Kornheiser is being challenged by dairy farmer Amanda Ellis-Thurber in the Democratic primary.

Susan Murray will be running unopposed in the Republican primary.

• Other unopposed Democratic incumbents include Mike Mrowicki of Putney in Windham-4 and House Majority Leader Emily Long of Newfane in Windham-5. No Republicans have filed to compete in those elections.

• Windham-8 incumbent Mollie Burke of Brattleboro is unopposed in the Democratic primary, while William Harvey of Brattleboro is unopposed in the Republican primary.

• Incumbent Democrat Heather Chase of Chester is running unopposed in her party's primary in the Windsor-Windham district. Thomas Charlton of Chester is unopposed in the Republican primary.

• Republican Janet Payne of Andover is unopposed for a seat in the Windham-Windsor-Bennington district. No Democratic candidates are on the ballot. Incumbent Kelly Pajala of Londonderry, an independent, is not running for re-election. Chris Morrow of Weston will be running as an independent candidate in the November general election.

Senate races

Incumbent Senate Democrats Nader Hashim of Dummerston and Wendy Harrison of Brattleboro will be unopposed in their party's primary. Both are seeking a second term.

Rick Morton of Brattleboro and Dale Gassett of Vernon are the Republican candidates for state senate.

Bennington County will be electing two new senators. With the retirement last month of Brian Campion of Bennington and the death of Richard "Dick" Sears of Bennington at age 81 on June 2, both seats are now open.

The Bennington district includes the Windham County towns of Wilmington, Londonderry, Stratton, and Somerset.

Current Bennington-4 Rep. Seth Bongartz of Manchester will be running for one of the seats in the Democratic primary.

Sears, who served 32 years in the Senate, turned in his nomination petition prior to his death and had qualified for the August primary, so his name will appear on the ballot. The Republicans have one candidate on the primary ballot for the two seats: Joseph Gervais of Arlington.

According to Bryan Mills of the Secretary of State's office, Vermont law "does not have provisions for a party to nominate alternate candidates for the primary election after the filing deadline due to death or withdrawal."

"Because Senator Sears filed for the August primary election," Mills said, "he will remain on the ballot. If he wins on Aug. 13, he will then be withdrawn due to death and, per 17 V.S.A. § 2386, the party committee will then have seven days (that is, by Aug. 20) to nominate a candidate."

This News item was submitted to The Commons.

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