County voters mirror statewide results
By ANDY KIRKALDY
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County and Brandon residents joined with voters elsewhere in Vermont in supporting the winners in major statewide races, in most cases by roughly the same percentages, although there were many differences in voting patterns.
As of Wednesday morning independent Bernie Sanders had won his race with Republican candidate Richard Tarrant for the U.S. Senate by almost exactly a two-to-one margin, 66-33 percent, with 82 percent of statewide votes tallied.
With all votes tallied in Addison County and Brandon, Sanders’ margin of victory mirrored the statewide results in the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by independent Jim Jeffords. Not counting fringe candidates, Sanders won locally, 12,418-5,416, or 60.6-31.4 percent, and carried every town.
Local votes almost exactly corresponded with statewide figures in the House race. With 82 percent of the statewide votes counted, Democrat Peter Welch led Republican Martha Rainville, 53 percent to 44 percent.
In Addison County and Brandon, Welch outpolled Rainville by 9,654-8,142, or 54 percent to 45 percent, again not counting minor candidates.
In the race for governor, Middlebury Republican incumbent James Douglas won against Democratic challenger Scudder Parker. Douglas led, 58 percent to 41 with 82 percent of Vermont votes counted.
Douglas earned a slightly larger margin in his home county and Brandon, 10,462-7,389, or 58.6 percent to 41.4 percent, exclusive of fringe candidates, although Parker outpolled Douglas in his hometown by two votes.
Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie also ran ahead of his statewide number in Addison County and Brandon. On Wednesday morning, Dubie’s overall lead over Democratic challenger Matt Dunne was 51-45 percent.
Locally, Dubie beat Dunne, 9,420-8,116, or 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent.
Tarrant failed to come close to Sanders in any local town, while Sanders piled up huge totals in most area communities.
Tarrant’s best results came in Addison, where he lost, 378-313; Orwell, where he lost, 346-227; and Panton, where he lost, 189-131.
The area’s largest towns offered strong support to Vermont’s longtime independent U.S. Representative. In Middlebury, Sanders thumped his businessman challenger, 2,159-637, drawing about 78 percent of the vote.
In Brandon, Sanders won, 1,164-577; in Bristol he won, 1,174-478; and in Vergennes he prevailed, 709-296.
Several smaller towns that voted consistently for Democratic candidates also backed Bernie strongly: He won in Starksboro, 568-195, and in Ripton, 258-51, for example.
Rainville fared better locally than Tarrant, her Republican colleague. Rainville won Brandon and six Addison County towns: Bridport, Ferrisburgh, Leicester, New Haven, Orwell and Panton, with her margins of victory ranging from 11 to 102 votes in those communities.
But an early indication that Rainville’s statewide bid was in trouble came when the results from Vergennes, home to a National Guard battalion, showed that the former Vermont National Guard adjutant general lost to Welch, 518-485.
Welch also won big in Middlebury (1,867-934) and carried Bristol (885-780).
Several smaller towns also gave Welch significant margins: Starksboro, 437-321; Weybridge, 316-182; Ripton, 224-83; and Lincoln, 429-262.
Douglas showed strength across the board against Parker, a former state senator in his first statewide race. Douglas swept 19 of the 24 local towns, some by wide margins.
Notably, the Republican incumbent won big in Brandon (1,130-620), Bristol (958-700), Ferrisburgh, (876-468), Orwell (397-170) and Vergennes (613-379).
Parker, like losing candidate Peter Clavelle two years ago, managed to carry Douglas’ hometown of Middlebury, but only by a tiny margin, 1,402-1,400.
Parker also prevailed in Granville, Lincoln, Ripton and Starksboro by margins ranging from 12 votes in Granville to 97 votes in Ripton.
DUBIE DOES WELL
The incumbent Republican in the lieutenant governor’s race also fared well in most towns, winning in Brandon and all but seven Addison County communities.
Dubie polled particularly well in Brandon (1,010-715), Bristol (883-744), Ferrisburgh (811-486), Orwell (359-200) and Vergennes (602-376).
Dunne, another former state senator in his first statewide race, saw his strongest result come in Middlebury, where he outpolled Dubie, 1,603-1,151. Dunne also won Granville, Lincoln, Ripton, Starksboro and Weybridge by margins that ranged from 32 to 108 votes.