Statewide races spice up Nov. 8 ballot

ADDISON COUNTY — A variety of statewide races and a polarizing presidential contest are expected to amp up excitement at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The presidential race includes Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Clinton and Trump have traded barbs and policy positions during three televised debates and almost daily through social media and an onslaught of negative ads.
Area town clerks indicated interest in this year’s presidential race, as well as many competitive local races (see accompanying story for an overview of local races) could help push turnout to the record voting levels of 2008.
 Other contested statewide and federal races on this year’s election ballot include:
• U.S. Senator
Incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy has held his Senate seat since 1975, making him the longest current Democratic senator. Leahy is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is the senior-most member of both the Appropriations and the Agriculture committees.
Leahy faces major opposition this year from Pomfret Republican Scott Milne, who in 2014 fell just 2,434 votes shy of unseating incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin.
• U.S. House
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, a Norwich Democrat, is being challenged by Liberty Union candidate Erica Clawson.
A lawyer by profession and a former state legislator, Welch was elected to Congress in 2006. He was re-elected by wide margins in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. Welch serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
• Governor
Incumbent Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, a Berlin Republican, and former Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter, a Waterbury Democrat, are vying for the post soon to be vacated by Shumlin.
Scott is co-owner of Dubois Construction in Middlesex, and he is an avid racecar driver. He has served as lieutenant governor since 2011 and represented Washington County in the state Senate (2001-2011).
Minter served as Vermont’s “Irene Recovery Officer” from January 2012 to February 2013, and was a Vermont House member representing Waterbury, Duxbury, Huntington and Buel’s Gore (2004 to 2010).
Former Red Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee is also on the ballot as a Liberty Union candidate.
• Lieutenant governor
Former state Auditor, Senator and Middlebury College alum Randy Brock — a Swanton Republican — is competing with state Sen. Dave Zuckerman, a Hinesburg farmer who is on the ballot as both a Progressive and Democratic candidate.
Brock has made a second career out of politics and public service following many years as a businessman. He founded and subsequently sold (in 1983) Brock International Security Corp. He then worked as a consultant for several years before joining Fidelity Investments as its executive vice president for risk oversight, a job that took him all over the world.
He got involved in state politics around 15 years ago after becoming frustrated with regional news headlines about tax increases and various health care and public education policies that were not to his liking.
Brock served as state auditor (2005-2007) and as a Franklin County senator (2009-2013).
Zuckerman is the founder of Full Moon Farm, a NOFA-certified, organic farm in Hinesburg. He was elected in 2012 to the Vermont Senate, representing Chittenden County. He is vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and clerk of the Senate Committee on Education.
Prior to that, Zuckerman served 14 years (1997-2010) in the Vermont House representing the city of Burlington. This issue of the Independent features a profile of Zuckerman and his candidacy for lieutenant governor (see Page 1A).
The Independent published a similar article about Brock in its Oct. 17 edition.
Other contests on the ballot key involve:
•  Secretary of State, with Democratic incumbent Jim Condos facing opposition from Liberty Union candidate Mary Alice Herbert.
•  State Treasurer, with incumbent Democrat Beth Pearce facing opposition from Progressive Don Schramm and Liberty Union candidate Murray Ngoima.
•  Auditor of Accounts, with incumbent Democrat Doug Hoffer being opposed by Republican Dan Feliciano and Liberty Union candidate Marina Brown.
•  Attorney General, featuring a contest between longtime Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan (Democrat), Republican Deborah Bucknam and Liberty Union candidate Rosemarie Jackowski.
Most local polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8. And here’s a special note for Middlebury residents: This Friday, Nov. 4, is the last day available for early voting in Middlebury, noted Town Clerk Ann Webster. Webster’s office at 77 Main St. will be closed both Monday, Nov. 7, and Tuesday, Nov. 8, for the election responsibilities. Voting in Middlebury will for the first time take place at the town’s new recreation facility on Creek Road. Voting had for many years been held at the municipal gym at 94 Main St., which was recently demolished.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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