County voters back Shumlin
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County and Brandon voters followed statewide trends on Tuesday in backing Democrat Peter Shumlin for governor, Republican Phil Scott for lieutenant governor, Democrat Jim Condos for secretary of state, and incumbent Republican Tom Salmon for state auditor.
Area voters also joined the groundswell of support that swept incumbent U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., to new terms in office.
As the Addison Independent went to press on Wednesday, Vermont Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, R-Essex Jct., had conceded the governor’s race to Sen. Pres. Pro Tem Peter Shumlin of Putney. The latest results showed Shumlin leading Dubie by around 4,000 votes with a few precincts left to come in. Shumlin was slated to claim victory at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
A roundup of election results in Addison County and Brandon showed that local voters were similarly divided between the two popular candidates.
The governor’s race was the marquee match-up of Tuesday’s elections, and the contest lived up to its billing. Shumlin and Dubie each won 12 area towns, with Shumlin scoring an overall 8,401 to 7,855 margin.
Communities supporting Shumlin included Middlebury and Starksboro, where the Democrat notched wins of 1,757-896 and 419-299, respectively. Shumlin also beat Dubie decisively in Lincoln (409-254), Cornwall (356-251), and Weybridge (279-178).
Meanwhile, Dubie notched his biggest local wins in Addison (436-198), Orwell (344-199), Bridport (349-200) and Ferrisburgh (671-550).
Dubie had hoped to succeed four-term incumbent James Douglas, a Middlebury Republican, as the state’s top executive. Shumlin emerged from a hard-fought primary among five high-profile Democrats to try to re-claim the governor’s office for a party that already holds large majorities in the House and Senate.
Political analyst and Middlebury College Middlebury College political science Professor Emeritus Eric Davis said Tuesday’s loss could permanently take the wind out of Dubie’s political sails — at least when it comes to statewide office.
“I think it will be hard for Brian Dubie to make a comeback because of the tone of the campaign,” he said, referring to negative advertising — initiated by the Dubie campaign but used by both sides — that was unprecedented in Vermont electoral history.
Davis believes Jason Gibbs experienced the other big loss for the GOP on Nov. 2. Gibbs, a Duxbury resident, Otter Valley Union High School graduate and former Douglas administration official was competing for secretary of state and was considered a young up-and-comer in the Vermont GOP.
But former state Sen. Jim Condos, a Montpelier Democrat, beat Gibbs decisively on Tuesday. Here in Addison County and Brandon, Condos beat Gibbs, 8,361 to 7,222.
With Dubie and Gibbs now out of the Statehouse equation, Davis believes new Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, R-Middlesex, will become the leading Republican spokesman in the state legislature.
Scott handily defeated state Rep. Steve Howard, D-Rutland City. Here in Addison County and Brandon, Scott bested Howard, 7,758 to 7,295. Howard edged New Haven Democrat Chris Bray in a primary contest last August.
In the other major statewide race, incumbent state auditor Thomas M. Salmon, R-St. Johnsbury, held off a challenge from Burlington Democrat Doug Hoffer by a comfortable margin. Addison County and Brandon voters backed Salmon, 7,955 to 7,802.
The two contests for federal offices proved to be one-sided, both statewide and locally. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., topped Pomfret Republican Len Britton in Addison County and Brandon, 10,727 to 4,900. Meanwhile, incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., bested Republican Paul Beaudry of Swanton, by an 11,055 to 5,015 margin.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].