Sorrel carries Addison County in AG primary

ADDISON COUNTY — The race between incumbent William Sorrell and challenger T.J. Donovan for the Democratic Party’s nomination for state attorney general was tight in Addison County, though not as tight as it was in statewide voting Tuesday. And, as in the rest of the state, Sorrell came out the winner.
Sorrell, who has been Vermont attorney general for 15 years, garnered 1,390 votes (53 percent) in 22 Addison County towns and Brandon, while Chittenden County State’s Attorney Donovan tallied 1,248 (47 percent). As of press time, the Associated Press was reporting that Sorrell had won 50.75 percent of votes statewide, and Donovan conceded the race in a Wednesday morning press conference.
Sorrell will face Burlington resident Jack McMullen, who was uncontested in the Republican Primary. McMullen is a consultant for early-stage technology companies and an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate.
In the only other contested race in Tuesday’s primary, John MacGovern of Windsor soundly defeated H. Brooke Paige of Windsor in the GOP Primary race for U.S. Senate. The local tally was MacGovern 411, Paige 111. MacGovern, a 60-year-old businessman, will face Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in the General Election.
Sorrell easily outdistanced Donovan in Addison County’s shire town, Middlebury, 315-260. He also posted narrow victories in Vergennes (73-66) and Bristol (104-101). But Donovan got more votes than Sorrell in six county towns: Ferrisburgh (99-88), Leicester (24-19), Monkton (78-74), Bridport (34-33), Salisbury (30-25) and Starksboro (60-59).
Results were not available for Waltham.
Local town clerks said turnout was light. There were no contests for Addison County statehouse candidates, though Whiting Town Clerk Grace Simonds said she saw state senate write-in votes for incumbent Harold Giard (who is not seeking re-election), former Gov. Jim Douglas (who is not running) and one-time Sen. Tom Bahre.
In Whiting about 20 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Lincoln saw 18.5 percent voter turnout, in Shoreham it was 11.2 percent.
Bristol Town Clerk Therese Kirby said Bristol saw the lowest turnout she’s seen — 262 of the 2,649 registered voters, or 9.8 percent, came to the polls.
“We figured that if every poll worker cast a vote then we’d account for 5 percent of the total,” Kirby said.
Running an election isn’t free, she pointed out. It cost Bristol $1,091 to reprogram its automatic vote-counting machines, and another $960 for the poll workers.
“That’s about $7.50 per vote,” Kirby said.
The paucity of contested races may have had something to do with the turnout. Without a big-name contest many voters have not learned much about who is running, observers said.
Whiting’s Simonds said one voter wrote “anyone” in all the blanks on the ballot (it was counted as “blank”).
The General Election will feature a full slate of candidates at the top of the ticket for both the Republicans and Democrats, plus the Progressives and some independents will be on the ballot.
The General Election  is Nov. 6, with early voting beginning Sept. 24. The deadline to register for the election is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31. 

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