The Nov. 8th general election ballot is crowded
ADDISON COUNTY — A five-person race for two state Senate seats, contests in four local Vermont House districts, the election of a new Addison County sheriff, a proposed school district merger referendum and a town hall repair bond are just some of the Nov. 8 General Election draws for Addison County residents.
And that lineup doesn’t even include what has been a spirited race for Addison County state’s attorney and a variety of showdowns for state and federal offices, ranging from Vermont auditor to U.S. Senate.
The following is a brief summation of the Addison County contests and the candidates who will be seeking your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8. A more detailed voter guide can be found here.
• Those residing in the Addison-1 district, which includes most of Middlebury — with the exception of a carve-out that includes the Marble Works complex and the Seymour Street neighborhood — will have three choices for two available House seats. They include incumbent Democratic Reps. Robin Scheu and Amy Sheldon, as well as Republican Peter Caldwell.
Caldwell — a writer and a retired college administrator, professor, small-business consultant and accountant — waged a successful write-in campaign on Aug. 9 to have his name placed on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot.
Scheu, former executive director of the Addison County Economic Development Corp., is currently a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Sheldon, a natural resource planner, currently chairs the House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife Committee.
• Four candidates are in the running for two seats representing the Addison-3 district, which includes Vergennes, Ferrisburgh, Addison, Panton, Waltham, along with a small slice of New Haven.
It’s a race that features incumbent Democratic Reps. Matthew Birong and Diane Lanpher, both of Vergennes, as well as Republican challengers James McClay of New Haven and Rob North of Ferrisburgh.
Birong, owner of 3Squares Café in Vergennes, serves on the House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs.
Lanpher, one of the county’s most veteran lawmakers, chairs the House Transportation Committee.
McClay is a 25-year military veteran and former safety, security and transportation manager at Northlands Job Corps.
North worked for 27 years with Collins Aerospace before retiring two years ago.
• Four candidates are in the running for two seats representing the Addison-4 district, which encompasses Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro.
The lineup includes incumbent Democratic Reps. Caleb Elder of Starksboro and Mari Cordes of Lincoln, who are being challenged by Republicans Lynn Dike of Bristol and Valerie Mullin of Monkton.
Elder is a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and has worked in the construction and renewable energy fields.
Cordes is a longtime Registered Nurse who currently serves on the House Health Care Committee.
Dike also has many years of experience as a registered nurse and has previous experience as a candidate. She ran for an Addison-4 seat two years ago, and competed for one of the county’s state Senate seats in 2016.
Valerie Mullin is a longtime entrepreneur and a staunch supporter for the welfare of animals. She has competed for an Addison-4 seat multiple times, but has yet to break through.
• Two are in the running for a seat representing Addison-5, which includes all of Bridport and Weybridge, most of New Haven and a northwest carve-out of Middlebury that includes the Marble Works and Seymour Street neighborhoods. Incumbent Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, decided to take a pass on reelection after having served his constituents for more than a decade.
Hoping to succeed Smith are New Haven Republican Jon Christiano and Democrat Jubilee McGill of Bridport.
Christiano is retired after a lengthy career negotiating equipment purchases for IBM while it was based in Essex Jct. He has held leadership posts with the Addison County Republican Committee.
This will be McGill’s second bid for the Addison-5 seat; she ran unsuccessfully against Smith in 2020. McGill currently works as property manager and coordinator of rental housing for Vergennes-based John Graham Housing & Services.
The May 26 filing deadline for major party candidates arrived with no challengers for incumbent Sens. Christopher Bray, D-Bristol, and Ruth Hardy, D-Middlebury. But the picture has since changed in the two-seat senatorial district that includes Addison County, Huntington, Rochester and Buel’s Gore.
Republicans Lloyd Dike of Bristol and Robert Burton of Cornwall waged successful write-in campaigns during the Aug. 9 primary that allowed them to get on the Nov. 8 ballot. And Mason Wade of Rochester filed as an independent candidate.
Bray is the county’s senior senator who currently chairs the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee and serves on the Senate Finance Committee. He’s also the member of a variety of other legislative panels, including the Joint Energy Committee and the Joint Carbon Emissions Reduction Committee.
Hardy is vice chair of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee and serves on Senate Finance. Like Bray, she’s a member of a variety of other legislative panels, including (chair of) the Senate Sexual Harassment Panel and the Joint Committee on Judicial Retention.
Wade works in organic-sustainable landscape design and specializes in both installation and maintenance of such systems. He’s a former organic produce farmer and offered one of the earliest CSA membership plans.
Wade has previously run unsuccessfully for a House seat representing the Windsor-Rutland district and has twice finished out of the running for one of Windsor County’s three seats in the state Senate.
Lloyd Dike (Lynn’s spouse) is retired, but previously served as a member of the U.S. Army, a farmer and as a longtime rural mail carrier.
Burton spent 12 years in the Navy, followed by around three decades in Emergency Medicine as an ER physician.
ADDISON COUNTY SHERIFF
Addison Republican Mile Elmore is making his first run for sheriff, and two independent candidates (both former Addison County Sheriff’s Department deputies) oppose him on Nov. 8: Mark Stacey of Leicester and Gerald Grant of Addison.
The election for sheriff has drawn a lot of scrutiny given incumbent Peter Newton’s arrest in June on charges of two counts of sexual assault and one count each of domestic violence and unlawful restraint. Newton, who had previously announced he wouldn’t seek reelection, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He’s also rejected widespread calls for his resignation.
Stacey has served as Addison County Highway Safety Coordinator since January of 2019. He has served six years as a Vergennes police officer and 16 years (2000-2016) as an ACSD deputy.
Grant spent 11 years as an ACSD deputy, two years as a jail officer and 15 years working within area public school systems, according to his bio.
Elmore joined the ACSD in 2017, eventually earning promotions to corporal and sergeant. He’s been serving as acting sheriff during Newton’s legal imbroglio.
ADDISON COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY
Two candidates are vying to replace former Addison County State’s Attorney Dennis Wygmans, a South Burlington Democrat. They include Middlebury independent Peter Bevere — a deputy prosecutor with the office that he’s been in charge of since Wygmans’ departure this past May — and Middlebury Democrat Eva Vekos.
Bevere previously ran for the top prosecutor’s spot in 2018, losing to Wygmans by fewer than 10 votes. He has previous experience in private practice and before beginning his current job in early 2019 he also worked as an assistant district attorney with the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s office in Massachusetts, a domestic violence prosecutor for the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office, and as a deputy prosecutor with the Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Vekos has accumulated more than 24 years of experience as a criminal law practitioner and litigator. She’s served as a public defender and ad hoc appellate counsel in various jobs in the New York and Massachusetts court systems. Vekos moved to Vermont in 2015 and currently works for Middlebury firm Marsh & Wagner P.C.
Vekos bested fellow Democrat Tim Lueders-Dumont on Aug. 9 for the right to face Bevere on Nov. 8.
There are no other contested county elections on the General Election ballot, although Leicester Republican Christine Stone has announced a write-in campaign against incumbent Rep. Peter Conlon, D-Cornwall, in Addison-2.
Other lawmakers running unopposed include Orwell Democrat Joseph Andriano, for the Addison-Rutland House seat; New Haven Democrat Pam Marsh, for Addison County Probate Court Judge; Middlebury Democrat Dave Silberman, for county high bailiff; and Cornwall Democrat Patricia Ross and Middlebury Democrat Nicole Wilkerson, both for assistant judge.
In other voting on Nov. 8, residents of the Mount Abraham and Addison Northwest School Districts will vote on a merger of those two school systems, and Addison residents will vote on a $2 million bond to repair their former town hall on Route 22A, a building that would be used for town offices and a community center.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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