Baser shares thoughts on election defeat

BRISTOL — Rep. Fred Baser, R-Bristol, won’t request a recount of votes cast in the Nov. 6 Addison-4 House race. He chalked up his defeat to effective campaigning on the part of his challengers along with what he believes was a statewide anti-GOP sentiment heading into a general election that saw three Addison County Republicans turned out of office.
Baser, a two-term incumbent and member of the House Ways & Means Committee, placed third in a four-person race for Addison-4’s two seats representing Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro in the Vermont House. Starksboro Democrat Caleb Elder placed first, with 2,274 votes, followed by Democrat/Progressive Mari Cordes of Lincoln, who garnered 2,072 tallies. She eclipsed Baser by 60 votes.
Monkton Republican Valerie Mullin rounded out the field with 1,458 votes.
Baser couldn’t be reached immediately following the election. But he shared some of his thoughts during a recent email exchange with the Independent.
Baser said some district Democrats who had voted for him in past elections decided to support an all-blue ticket due to a negative perception of Republicans at the national level — particularly as it pertained to the recent appointment of new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Many people whose door I knocked on said some version of the following: ‘Fred you’ve done a good job and I like you; I even voted for you in the past but I cannot vote for you now, as you run as a Republican,’” Baser said. “Many women added to this sentiment after the Kavanaugh hearings. I wish I could tell you this only happened five or six times, but it didn’t; I heard it a lot. Enough past supporters — remember, Addison-4 is a Democratic district — chose not to look at the candidate but the party, plus the Democratic candidates were credible and supportable by their people.”
State and local Democrats rallied around their Addison-4 candidates, Baser noted.
“The Addison County and district Democrats were very well organized and had resources and people helping their candidates,” Baser said. “They worked as a unit to deliver their message. There was zero assistance from local or county Republicans.”
The Addison County Republican Committee did make a single, $150 contribution to Baser’s campaign on Oct. 25, according to the latest (Nov. 2) campaign contribution disclosure forms. Meanwhile, the Addison County Democratic Party Committee contributed a combined total of $1,800 to Elder, who also benefitted from a total of $960 in in-kind contributions from the Vermont Democratic Party during the course of the campaign.
Cordes, in what was her second bid for an Addison-4 seat, received a total of $800 in contributions from the Addison County Democratic Party Committee and $235 in in-kind contributions from the Vermont Democratic Party, according to her Nov. 2 fundraising disclosure forms.
Other incumbent Addison County Republicans losing their posts on Nov. 6 included Rep. Warren Van Wyck of Ferrisburgh and Assistant Judge Alice George of Middlebury.
Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, is now the lone Republican member of Addison County’s legislative delegation. He ran unopposed on Nov. 6.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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