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Races shaping up as filing deadline for campaign nears

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Posted on June 8, 2014 |
By John Flowers



ADDISON COUNTY — The 2014 election picture will become a lot clearer after Thursday, June 12, the deadline by which candidates must file nomination papers to run for statewide office as well as for the Vermont House, Senate and a variety of county positions.

The filing deadline applies to candidates seeking a spot on the Aug. 26 primary ballot, which puts them in line to appear on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot. The deadline applies to candidates who are running for U.S. representative, governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, secretary of state, auditor of accounts, attorney general, all 30 state senate seats, all 150 state representative seats, probate judge, assistant judge (side judge), state’s attorney, sheriff, high bailiff, and justice of the peace.

Candidates must file their nomination papers, bearing the requisite number of signatures, with their representative district clerk or — in the case of county and state Senate candidates — at the Addison County Courthouse. Those vying for statewide or Congressional office must gather 500 signatures. Candidates for state Senate and county offices need 100 signatures, while House hopefuls must collect 50.

Candidates can jump into the race after the June 12 filing deadline if they wage write-in campaigns for the Aug. 26 primary. In order to be successful, a candidate for state senate would have to received at least 50 write-in votes (and a majority) in the primary in order to be placed on the General Election ballot. A House candidate would need at least 25 votes (and a majority) to advance to the General Election ballot.

“We will have someone running for each position,” said Paul Forlenza, leader of the Addison County Democratic Committee. “I feel good about the slate.”

“We are still talking to prospective candidates,” said Bryan Young, leader of the Addison County Republican Committee. “We would love to have a pony in every race, but realistically, that probably won’t happen.”

As the Addison Independent went to press on Friday, the Addison County Republican and Democratic leaders continued to network with potential candidates.

Here’s how the roster of candidates stacks up at this point:

Addison-1 (Middlebury): Three Democrats and one independent have thus far stepped forward to vie for the two seats in this district. A Democratic primary will be needed to select two of that party’s three declared candidates — incumbent Rep. Betty Nuovo, Amy Sheldon and Donna Donahue. Incumbent Rep. Paul Ralston, D-Middlebury, has announced he will not run for re-election. The field also includes Middlebury College student Calvin McEathron, who is running as an independent.

Nuovo is the county’s most veteran lawmaker, with 27 years of service. She currently serves on the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee.

The Republican Party has not recently run a candidate in Addison-1, which has proven itself a particularly strong Democrat stronghold.

Addison-2 (Cornwall, Goshen, Hancock, Leicester, Ripton and Salisbury): Incumbent Rep. Willem Jewett, D-Ripton, is thus far the only declared candidate for the seat he has held for the past 12 years. Jewett is the current House Majority Leader.

Addison-3 (Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes and Waltham): Incumbent Reps. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, and Warren Van Wyck, R-Ferrisburgh, have confirmed they will be running for re-election in the two-seat district. Addison Democrat John Spencer has also thrown his hat into the ring. Lanpher is seeking her fourth consecutive two-year term, while Van Wyck will compete in his first election for the job. Gov. Peter Shumlin appointed him to the position in January of 2013 following the tragic death of Rep. Greg Clark, R-Vergennes.

Addison-4 (Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro): Veteran Democratic incumbent Reps. Dave Sharpe of Bristol and Mike Fisher of Lincoln are again running for re-election. They ran unopposed in 2012, but they will be challenged this year in the two-seat district by Republicans Fred Baser of Bristol and Valerie Mullin of Monkton.

Sharpe is seeking his seventh consecutive two-year term in the House, while Fisher is vying for his eighth. Sharpe is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, while Fisher is chairman of the House Health Care Committee.

Baser is a longtime financial planner and former Bristol selectman who has competed in the past for an Addison-4 seat. Mullin is a businessperson making her first run for the House.

Addison-5 (Bridport, New Haven and Weybridge): Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, will seek another term in the one-seat district. He will face opposition this year from New Haven Democrat Susan Smiley.

Smith, former president of the Addison County Farm Bureau and a longtime farmer, was first elected to the House in 1998 and served through 2007, the year in which he was defeated by New Haven Democrat Chris Bray, who now serves in the state Senate. Smith won the seat again in 2010. He has primarily served his legislative career on the House Agriculture Committee.

This will be Smiley’s first run for the House. The Addison Independent will profile Smiley and other challengers for House and Senate seats during the coming weeks.

Addison-Rutland-1 (Benson, Orwell, Shoreham and Whiting): Incumbent Rep. Will Stevens, I-Shoreham, announced last month that he would not seek re-election after four terms, all of them spent on the House Agriculture Committee. Stevens said he needs to devote more time to Golden Russet Farm, the business he operates with wife, Judy.

Stevens’ announcement took local Democrats and Republicans by surprise. As the Addison Independent went to press, Alyson Eastman of Orwell confirmed she will run for the seat as an independent.

State Senate (Addison County, Huntington and Buel’s Gore): Incumbent Sens. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, and Christopher Bray, D-New Haven, will seek new terms in the Legislature’s upper chamber. As of Friday, Ripton independent Robert Wagner (via his Facebook page) was the only confirmed challenger for one of the two seats. Wagner has run unsuccessfully for a state Senate seat the past two election cycles.

Ayer is seeking her sixth consecutive two-year term, while Bray will vie for his second. Bray previously served two terms in the House. Bray serves on the Senate Finance and Agriculture Committees.

Ayer currently serves as the Senate majority whip. She also chairs the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and the Health Care Oversight Committee.

The GOP did not field any challengers for the two Senate seats in 2012.

The current Addison County side judges are Francis “Frank” Broughton and Margaret “Betsy” Gossens. The incumbent Addison County state’s attorney is David Fenster. The county’s probate court judge is Eleanor “Misse” Smith.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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