Rep. Harvey Smith tops challenger Bruhl in Add-5 contest
NEW HAVEN — Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, was re-elected Tuesday for what will be his eighth term representing Addison-5 in the Vermont House. Smith defeated New Haven Democrat Taborri Bruhl, 1,196-1,062.
Smith took New Haven (581-483) and Bridport (402-241), but lost in Weybridge to Bruhl, who garnered 338 votes compared to Smith’s 213.
“Every election is somewhat anxiety-involved.” Smith said on Wednesday morning. “The votes came in about where I expected. I usually do quite well in New Haven and Bridport. It’s always a struggle in Weybridge, but I look at the total votes, I don’t look at individual towns.”
Smith cites the health of the state’s agriculture as his top priority. A lifelong farmer, he has been active with UVM’s Extension Advisory Board, the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and United Dairy Industries, and he is the former state executive director of the Farm Service Agency.
“Agriculture’s always an important one for me,” he said. “I think if we really want to have agriculture, we really need to keep the focus on some of the positives that are out there.”
Smith served in the House from 1999 to 2006, where he became a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee. After being defeated in 2006, he ran again in 2010, and currently serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products.
His opponent, Bruhl, was persuaded to run for the House seat by the Addison County Democrats. After missing the May deadline to file nomination papers, he fought for write-in votes in the Aug. 9 primary, needing at least 25 to be considered. He received more than 200.
As of press time, Bruhl had not responded to the Independent’s request for a comment.
Bruhl, 48, teaches economics at Rutland High School. After graduating from Texas A&M University with a major in journalism, he fought in the first Gulf War in Iraq.
Smith has won a number of elections in the past, but was still processing the news the day after the election.
“It’s always surprising to me, all the support that you receive over the years,” he said. “It’s a real humbling experience to know that there are that many people out there that would support the hard work you do. I need to thank a lot of people.”