Game on! Lengthy 2020 election season to climax on Tuesday

JUST AS THE harvest season is wrapping up, a crop of lawn signs endorsing political candidates has popped up around Addison County, including a batch in Middlebury supporting Democrats.

ADDISON COUNTY — All eyes on Nov. 3 will be squarely fixed on the tumultuous race for U.S. president featuring Democrat Joe Biden versus incumbent Republican Donald Trump.
But the 2020 General Election is giving Addison County residents many additional reasons to vote, with contested races in all six of the local House districts, for state Senate, and even for the countywide position of high bailiff.
The Independent here provides a quick overview of those running in each race, along with info on what local candidates had raised and spent as of the Oct. 15 campaign finance filing deadline.
The proliferation of candidate lawn signs around Addison County and the most recent campaign finance filings (Oct. 15) show that local candidates are continuing to court voters right up to Election Day.
For full coverage of these candidates head online to and see our “Voter Guide” under the PDF Special Sections tab and look at all our election news and profiles by clicking on “Elections 2020” under our “News” tab. It’s all free through the election.

Local voters have a choice of five candidates for the two Vermont Senate seats representing Addison County, Huntington and Buel’s Gore. They include incumbent Sens. Christopher Bray, D-Bristol, and Ruth Hardy, D-East Middlebury, who face competition this year from Addison Republican Peter Briggs, New Haven Republican Jon Christiano and Hancock Libertarian Archie Flower.
Bray has served in the Senate since 2012 and currently chairs the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
Hardy is seeking re-election to a second consecutive two-year term. She has served on the Senate Education and Agriculture Committees.
Briggs is an Addison farmer who currently serves on the town’s selectboard.
Christiano is a retired IBM executive who spent four years leading the Addison County Republican Committee.
Flower’s resume includes a stint as a computer technician at UTC Aerospace in Vergennes.
According to the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, only Bray and Hardy had filed campaign finance forms indicating they had raised and/or spent more than the requisite $500 (as of Oct. 15) to trigger a declaration. Hardy had raised $4,211 and spent $6,063 as of that date, while Bray had raised $3,830 and spent $1,176.

Three candidates are running for two seats representing Middlebury: incumbent Democrats Amy Sheldon and Robin Scheu, and Republican Tom Hughes.
Sheldon — a natural resource planner who chairs the House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife Committee — was first elected in 2014.
Scheu, the former executive director of the Addison County Economic Development Corp., served this past biennium on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Hughes, a retired regional supervisor for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, last ran for this House seat as an independent in 2014.
Scheu has thus far raised $975 and spent $1,030. Hughes hasn’t actively raised money for the race. Sheldon hasn’t raised or spent the requisite $500.
In Addison-2 (Cornwall, Goshen, Hancock, Leicester, Ripton, Salisbury) incumbent Rep. Peter Conlon , D-Cornwall, will be the only candidate on the ballot, though Millard “Mac” Cox of Ripton has mounted a write-in campaign.
Conlon, who served this past biennium on the House Education Committee, is owner/operator of Vermont Move Management and Home Inventory.
Cox has said the main reason he’s running is to give the people in Ripton, Cornwall and Salisbury and the three other towns an additional voice in protesting Act 46 and the consideration of school consolidation in the Addison Central School District.
Neither candidate has reported raising or spending $500 to trigger a campaign finance filing.
Four candidates are running for two seats representing Addison-3, which includes Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes and Waltham. They include incumbent Vergennes Democrats Matt Birong and Diane Lanpher, and Republican challengers Tim Buskey of Addison and Steve Thurston of Ferrisburgh.
Lanpher, first elected to the House in 2008, currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee. She and her husband, Jim, owned the Horace Mann Insurance agency. 
Birong, chef/owner of 3 Squares Café in Vergennes, is seeking his second consecutive term in the House, where he serves on the General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee. 
Buskey, former chair of both the Addison and Middlebury selectboards, was most recently co-owner/operator of Vergennes Residential Care Inc.
Thurston is a Pennsylvania native with a long career as a homebuilder in the Manchester area, where he served as a selectman, zoning board chairman, rescue squad member, and school director. He and his spouse moved to Ferrisburgh in 2013.
Lanpher has raised $2,325 and spent $2,484; Buskey has raised $6,210 and spent $4,221; Birong has raised $6,065 and spent $3,072; and Thurston has raised $5,675 and spent $10,776.
In Addison-4 (Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro) four candidates are running for two seats: incumbents Mari Cordes, D-Lincoln, and Caleb Elder, D-Starksboro; Bristol Republican Lynn Dike; and Monkton Republican Valerie Mullin. 
Cordes, a Registered Nurse, is finishing up her first term, during which she’s served on the House Health Care Committee.
Elder, who also serves on the Mount Abraham Unified School District board, is seeking a sophomore term. He served this past biennium on the House Education Committee.
Dike is a longtime former nurse who worked many years at Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing in Middlebury. She ran for the state Senate in 2016.
Mullin, an independent businessperson, is making her fourth bid for an Addison-4 seat.
Cordes has raised $5,673 and spent $3,483, while Dike has raised $3,024 and spent $711. Mullin and Elder haven’t reported raising or spending the requisite $500.
In Addison-5 (New Haven, Weybridge and Bridport) two candidates are running for one seat: incumbent Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, and Bridport Democrat Jubilee McGill.
Smith, a longtime farmer and leader of the Addison County Farm Bureau, has served on and off in the Vermont House since 1999. He currently serves on the House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife Committee.
McGill is a service coordinator for the John W. Graham Emergency Shelter in Vergennes, where she’s tended to the shelter’s COVID-19 safety protocols. It’s her first run for the House.
McGill has raised $7,245 and spent $3,409, while Smith has raised $2,300 and spent $2,040.
Three candidates are running for one seat to represent the towns of Shoreham, Orwell, Whiting and Benson. They include incumbent Rep. Terry Norris, I-Shoreham; Shoreham Democrat Ruth Shattuck Bernstein; and Benson Independent Rick Lenchus.
Norris is a former farmer and photographer, and has been a captain and deck hand on the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry. He served last biennium on the House Agriculture & Forestry Committee.
Bernstein is a busy mom and director of the Salisbury Free Library, and is making her first House bid.
Lenchus, a prominent martial artist for much of his life, is a professional architect. He, too, is making his first foray into politics.
Bernstein reported raising $2,355 and spending $590. Neither Norris nor Lenchus have reported spending $500.

Middlebury Democrat Dave Silberman, Middlebury Republican Ron Holmes and Addison Independent Mike Elmore are all vying for high bailiff, a position whose limited duties include serving papers the sheriff is legally incapable of serving, arresting the sheriff if necessary, and/or acting as sheriff if that office is vacant.
Silberman is an attorney whose stated goal is to use the high bailiff’s post to shed more light on law enforcement and criminal justice issues.
Holmes is a former Addison County Sheriff’s Department (ACSD) deputy and former high bailiff.
Elmore is currently a sergeant with the ACSD.
Silberman reported raising $12,066 and spending $10,566, while Holmes and Elmore haven’t raised or spent $500.

•  Governor: This race pits Republican incumbent Gov. Phil Scott against current Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, who’s running as a Democrat and Progressive. The six other challengers are Emily Peyton of the Truth Matters party, Charly Dickerson (unaffiliated) and Independents Erynn Hazlett Whitney, Kevin Hoyt, Michael A. Devost and Wayne Billado III.
•  Lieutenant Governor: Democrat Molly Gray and Republican Scott Milne are taking most of the limelight. Other candidates for this office are Ralph “Carcajou” Corbo, who identifies his party affiliation as “Banish the F35s,” St. Albans Independent Wayne Billado III and Cris Ericson, a Chester Progressive.
•  State Treasurer: Republican Carolyn Branagan is challenging incumbent Democrat Beth Pearce. Also on the ballot are Progressive Cris Ericson and Alex Wright, an independent from Essex.
• State Auditor: Incumbent Doug Hoffer, a Democrat, squares off against Ericson.
• Attorney General: T.J. Donovan, an incumbent Democrat from South Burlington, appears on the ballot along with Republican H. Brooke Paige of Washington and Cris Ericson.
•  Voters will also see Paige and Ericson on the ballot as candidates for Secretary of State, along with incumbent Jim Condos, D-Montpelier, and St. Albans Independent Pamala Smith.

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