Editorial: An Election Day primer
Tomorrow is Election Day. In Vermont’s two-year election cycle, every office is up for grabs. As is typical, there will be several names on the ballot many voters will not be familiar with. That’s OK, don’t panic, and above all, don’t NOT vote.
If you’re feeling unprepared, here’s a quick guide before you step into the voting booth, along with some pointers from which to base your vote:
US Senate: Sen. Bernie Sanders, 77, Independent, is the incumbent and heavily favored to win. Lawrence Zupan is his Republican opponent, along with six other Independents, and one from the Libertarian Party. While opponents have landed a few zingers against Sander’s egocentric arrogance, he’s on the right side of the issues and no one will beat him.
US House: Rep. Peter Welch, Democrat, 71, is seeking his seventh consecutive two-year term. He faces Charleston Republican Anya Tynio, Independent Cris Ericson and Liberty Union’s Laura Potter. Rep. Welch represents Vermont well and should be returned to office.
Vermont Governor: Gov. Phil Scott, R, is vying against Democrat-Progressive Christine Hallquist, three Independents, and two others. Scott is hard not to like and his policies are mostly moderate. He has consistently defied Trump and took a bold stance to approve common sense gun control legislation. But, as governor he foregoes leadership and choses to be a backseat driver. He lets the Legislature plow forward in the vacuum he creates, then yells at them when it’s too late — a strategy that has him governing by veto. Hallquist would work collaboratively with the Legislature and achieve better results.
Lt. Governor: Incumbent David Zuckerman, Progressive-Democrat, is vying against Republican Don Turner and a Liberty Union candidate. Turner has recently changed from a strident social and tax conservative to a mellow moderate, but don’t be fooled. Turner is no moderate. He has used his role as Minority Leader to inflame the rhetoric and politics in Vermont. Zuckerman is articulate, a frugal organic farmer and argues with reason, not partisan fervor. Vote for Zuckerman.
Other statewide offices: Among the other statewide offices there are few serious challengers. That’s partly because they all deserve to be reelected. They are: Sec. of State Jim Condos, D; Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer, D; Attorney General T.J. Donovan, D.
Area House races:Four candidates are vying for two seats in Addison-4, representing Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro. Rep. Fred Baser, R, is the only incumbent seeking reelection. Democrat Mari Cordes, Lincoln, and Starksboro Democrat Caleb Elder, and Monkton Republican Vallerie Mullin join the battle. In other House races, the incumbents are unopposed. All four candidates would serve the county well; Elder, Cordes and Baser have the edge.
Addison-3, representing Vergennes, Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton and Waltham, sees incumbent Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, and running mate Democrat Matt Birong, also of Vergennes, vying against incumbent Rep. Warren Van Wyck, R-Ferrisburgh. Wyck had announced his retirement from politics last spring, but jumped back in after Republicans could not find another candidate. Lanphere is a moderate who has served the district well. Matt Birong is precisely what the Legislature needs — a young businessman with good ideas. Vote Lanphere and Birong.
Addison-Rutland 1: This is a two-way race for the one seats representing Orwell, Shoreham, Benson and Whiting. Incumbent Rep. Terry Norris, I-Shoreham, is facing Democrat Barbara Wilson. In February 2017, Gov. Scott had picked Norris to fill a seat vacated by Alyson Eastman, Orwell-I. Both have farm backgrounds and would serve the district well.
County Senate race: In the hottest local race, incumbent Chris Bray, D-New Haven, and Democrat Ruth Hardy are squaring off against Independents Marie Audet and Paul Ralston, Republican Peter Briggs and Archie Flower. The Independent’s columnist Eric Davis noted previously that the money spent in this race so far rivals what one would see in the Chittenden County Senate race (per candidate) and is an indication of how competitive the race is, adding that the outcome is likely “to be close.”
Sheriff, State’s Attorney, Assistant Judge:In the county race for Sheriff, Middlebury Democrat Peter Newton will face Independent Kevin Gibbs, former police chief of Bristol. Ron Holmes, who lost in the primary to Newton, is waging a write-in campaign. In the state’s attorney race, Incumbent Democrat Dennis Wygmans faces a challenge from Peter Bevere, an Independent from Middlebury. Both have excellent legal backgrounds for the job. Wygmans had previously worked as deputy prosecutor in Chittenden County and Bevere is the current chief deputy prosecutor in Rutland County. All four are good candidates; can’t go wrong.
In the assistant judge race, Democrats Jacqueline McLean and Patricia Ross are vying against Republicans Alice George and Doug Tolles. One of the two Democrats and George should get the nod. Voters should be wary of casting a vote for Tolles, who has shown himself to be disruptive, accusatory and threatening on occasions in which this paper has interacted with him in public settings. Voters would do better with any of the other three candidates.
In the other two county posts — probate judge and high bailiff — the incumbents are running unopposed. Above all, vote. It does matter and it is important to our democracy.