Vermont GOP Picks 5 Replacement Nominees For General Election Races

Aug 29, 2018

Vermont sets aside the second Tuesday in August for its primary elections, but the Vermont GOP had to wait until Wednesday night to find out who would represent the party in some of the most important statewide offices during the general election.

In an electoral oddity earlier this month, H. Brooke Paige won the Republican nomination for six statewide offices. He subsequently withdrew from all but secretary of state.

Under state law, the approximately 70 members of the Republican Party State Committee get to elect candidates to replace Paige on the general election ballot.

They made their choices at a meeting Wednesday:

  • Attorney General: Janssen Willhoit, who currently represents St. Johnsbury in the Vermont House
  • Auditor of Accounts: Rick Kenyon, a tax preparer from Brattleboro
  • State Treasurer: Rick Morton, who currently serves as Vermont GOP treasurer
  • U.S. House: Anya Tynio, who lost to Paige in the primary election race for this post
  • U.S. Senate: Lawrence Zupan, who lost to Paige in the primary election race for this post

Zupan and Tynio were the lone candidates elected Wednesday who actually sought those posts in the primary election, however both lost their bids to Paige.

Zupan said his work in the primary will carry over into the general election.

“My campaign infrastructure’s in place, as I’ve been running it for three months,” Zupan said. “The engines are running, and the funds are pouring in every day.”

Tynio said she’s optimistic about her chances against Welch, notwithstanding the fact that she was unable to win her own party’s primary.

“Despite the setback of the primary election, my determination to do this has not wavered or changed or diminished,” Tynio said. “And I believe that with the support of all of you and the many voters that did vote for me, we can get the momentum that we need to beat him in November.”

In the six statewide offices he ran for, Paige was in most instances the only GOP candidate on the ballot. He said he was interested only in running for secretary of state, but that he filed for the other races to ensure no Democrats won a Republican nomination as a write-in candidate.

Jack Moulton, executive director of the Vermont Republican Party, said the party’s inability to recruit solid candidates for statewide office is symptomatic of broader failings.

“There were faults that we all found and that we’ll reassess as we go into 2020,” Moulton said.

But Moulton said the GOP is satisfied with the crop of candidates chosen Wednesday.

“Right now I think we’re all happy with the outcome of what’s happened here,” Moulton said. “They’re all fantastic candidates.”

Incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott defeated challenger Keith Stern in the gubernatorial primary election, and current House Minority Leader Don Turner received the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor after running unopposed in the primary.