Tue August 26, 2014
Vermont Primaries: Live Updates
With more than 80 percent of precincts reporting, most major primary races showed a clear victor before midnight on Tuesday, but the three-way race for the Republican nomination the U.S. House of Representatives was still tight. As of Wednesday morning at 9:15 with 240 of 275 districts reporting, Mark Donka held a lead of 94 votes over Donald Russell. Donald Nolte trailed Donka by 409 votes.
Here are the latest unofficial results from the Secretary of State:
Results: Progressive Corren Likely Nabs Democratic Nomination
With more than two-thirds of precincts reporting and more than 3,500 write-in votes cast, the Progressive Party’s Dean Corren looks to have secured the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.
The identities of the names on those write-in ballots won’t be available until later this week. But Corren, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, was the only candidate actively campaigning in this particular primary contest. The Democratic lieutenant governor ballot was otherwise empty.
As for the 3,580 write-ins reported as of 9:50 p.m., Corren Tuesday night said “certainly we would expect to get the bulk of those.”
“So that would be a very good result, if all those assumptions turn out to be true,” he said.
Corren said the results could serve a springboard into the general election, when more people will begin paying attention to what will likely be the most competitive statewide race of 2014.
Corren is looking to unseat popular two-term Republican incumbent Lt. Gov. Phil Scott.
“We think that the overriding issues we’ve been talking about – health care and an economy that deals with climate change … are the issues that people will respond to,” Corren said.
Corren will ask the Vermont Democratic Party State Committee for its formal endorsement of his candidacy next month. If the party gives him that nod as it’s expected to, Corren would enjoy all the benefits – an impressive field organization and massive get-out-the-vote operation – that come with being a member of the state’s most powerful political party.
“Our challenge is to not only convince people that we have the right message … but also that we raise the excitement level and the importance level of this race to the point where people will come out and vote in an off year,” Corren said.
Results: AP Calls GOP Gubernatorial Race For Milne
The Associated Press has declared Scott Milne the winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary.
With roughly a quarter of precincts reporting, Milne received about 68 percent of the vote.
Second place appears to be going to Libertarian candidate Dan Feliciano, who urged voters to write his name on the GOP ballot.
While the breakdown of the write-in results might not be available until later this week, about 18 percent of voters had chosen the write-in option; no other candidate is mounting a write-in campaign for the Republican gubernatorial slot.
Emily Peyton and Steve Berry trailed with less than eight percent each.
Milne said he was very pleased by the strong support he received in the Primary election.
“I stuck to my guns in the primary,” Milne said Tuesday night. “I stayed practical I didn’t take a poll to figure out what I need to say to try to please people and I’m extraordinarily pleased that people seemed to buying that.”
Milne enters the general election race with far fewer financial resources than Shumlin. So far he’s raised roughly $40,000, while Shumlin has more than $1 million in the bank.
Milne said he wants to turn this funding disparity into a positive aspect of his campaign.
“I think it’s going to turn out to be an asset for us. I believe Vermonters are sick of $3 million governors races,” Milne said. “I think they want new ideas. They want somebody who is going to stand on principle and talk about what’s practical versus always coming up with some political solution to try to win an election.”
At The Polls: Feliciano Divides GOP Seeking Write-In Win
Paul Dame, a 32-year-old Republican candidate for the Vermont House, spent a sunny Tuesday outside the polling station in his home town of Essex. But Dame had more on his mind than his own political fortunes. And he’s among a growing band of Vermont Republicans who have adopted Libertarian candidate for governor Dan Feliciano as one of their own.
“I think Dan is really tapping into something. I mean three weeks ago, a lot of people didn’t even know who he was,” Dame says. “And in a very short time with a very small budget, but a great message, he’s either starting a movement or starting a rebellion.”
The size of that “movement” will become apparent tonight as elections results begin to roll in. Feliciano hopes to use a write-in campaign to snag the Republican gubernatorial nomination from the three GOP candidates who appeared on Tuesday’s ballot.
While totals for specific write-in candidates might not be available for days, Feliciano is the only candidate actively appealing for support, and thus the total number of write-in votes in the gubernatorial primary – a figure that could be available as early as tonight – should provide a reasonably accurate indication of how he fared.
Feliciano campaigned outside the Williston polling station early Tuesday afternoon, where he made no effort to manage expectations.
“We’re in this to win this whole thing,” he said. “We’re not here just to make a statement and raise the issues.”
And while many high-profile Republicans, including former Gov. James Douglas, are throwing their weight behind GOP frontrunner Scott Milne, Feliciano says he’s the candidate to take on incumbent Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin.
“I’m not here to split the vote. If you think I’m splitting the vote, then you should support me, because I’m the only candidate that has taken a firm stand, and taken the shots on the chin for taking a firm stand,” he said.
In two less-contested races, the AP called two races in favor of Democratic incumbents: Gov. Peter Shumlin and Attorney General Bill Sorrell.
At The Polls: Corren Seeks To Stomp Out ALS, Phil Scott
Outside the Ward 1 polling station in Burlington Tuesday, flanked by Democratic Reps. Barbara Rachelson, Kesha Ram and Suzi Wizowaty, Progressive candidate for Lt. Gov. Dean Corren headlined that most ubiquitous of social media events: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Corren, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor as a write-in in Tuesday’s primary, led the group in a pre-dousing chant.
“We’re here at the Ward 1 poll because voting is HOT! And stamping out ALS would be COOL!”
The partisan make-up of the soggy participants, however, was the real message Tuesday, as Corren looks to convince Democrats that he can be the Prog/Dem “unity” candidate to unseat popular Republican incumbent Lt. Gov. Phil Scott.
“We obviously need a lot of people to do the work of getting the vote out in November,” Corren said. “We have an off year, and we need a lot more voters to come out in order to unseat an incumbent Republican.”
There is no Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor on the primary ballot, and Corren needs 250 write-in votes to qualify for the nomination. He has the support of many high-profile Democrats, including Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont Democratic Party Chairwoman Dottie Deans.
“There’s been tremendous support from Democrats around the state, and people have been writing me in in the Democratic primary, and we’re very optimistic about getting that nomination,” Corren said.
But some powerful Democratic supporters of Phil Scott – Sens. John Campbell and Dick Mazza among them – will actively be campaigning against a Corren candidacy.
Total write-in results for Corren may not be available until later this week, however the total number of write-in votes in the Democratic gubernatorial primary should be available later tonight. And while a smattering of Republicans have encouraged members of the GOP to write in Phil Scott on the Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial ballot, Corren’s write-in campaign has been far more robust.
Down-Ticket Races To Follow
Much of the attention today has been on the statewide candidates for office, but there are several contested primaries at the local level as well.
In Windham County, four Democratic candidates are vying for two spots on the November ballot.
In the House, Democrats had five contested primaries. Those races are in:
- Addison-1, where Amy Sheldon and incumbent Rep. Betty Nuovo have won spots on the general election ballot. Sheldon was the top vote getter, with 460 votes, followed by Nuovo, with 378 votes. Donna Donahue lost the race with 324 votes.
- Bennington-2-2, where Kiah Morris and Joann Errenhouse won the two available spots with 239 and 184 votes, respectively. Jim Carroll and Brandy Reynolds lost with 164 and 154 votes, respectively.
- Bennington-2-1, where Tim Corcoran (812 votes) and Rachel Fields (340 votes) beat out Jackie Kelly (222 votes) for the two available spots.
- Chittenden-6-7, where Clem Bissonnette and Diana Gonzalez won with 227 and 267 votes, respectively, to fill the two spots. Ken Atkins lost the race with 198 votes.
- Windsor-Orange-2, where Tim Briglin (1,176 votes) and Jim Masland (1,094 votes) beat out Jill Michaels (397 votes) and Irv Thomae (601 votes) for two spots.
Republicans, meanwhile, are watching contested primaries in four districts:
- Caledonia-1, Marcia Robinson Martel beat out incumbent Leigh Larocque 237 to 165 for the lone seat.
- Caledonia-3, where Scott Beck and Janssen Willhoit won nominations with 283 and 284 votes, respectively, in the two-seat district. Tom Moore lost the election with 170 votes.
- Essex-Caledonia-Orleans, where Paul Levebvre beat out Kenn Stransky and Maurice Connary with 100 votes. Stransky and Connary had 75 and 12 votes, respectively.
- Rutland-3, where Bill Canfield (306 votes) and Bob Helm (261 votes) beat Dean Powers (75 votes) for the two available seats.
Reporters Peter Hirschfeld (@PeteHirschfeld) and Taylor Dobbs (@taylordobbs) covered the election from polling places in Chittenden County and will be tweeting election results as they're available. See their updates below. We've also collected some of our previous coverage , in case you need to do some last-minute research before heading to the polls.
VPR's Campaign 2014 coverage:
Write-In Brings Intrigue To GOP Gubernatorial Primary, Aug. 25, by Peter Hirschfeld
Winooski Voters Will Choose Between Veterans And Newbies, Aug. 25, by Annie Russell
GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Split On Health Care, Energy, Aug. 22, by Bob Kinzel
GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Debate, Aug. 22, Vermont Edition
Businesses Give Big To Shumlin Campaign, Aug. 20, by Peter Hirschfeld
Primary Election Hasn't Excited Voters; Turnout May Hit Record Low, Aug. 20, by Bob Kinzel
Lots Of Choice In Northeast Kingdom's State's Attorney Races, Aug. 20, by Charlotte Albright
The Catch Up: Primary Elections, Explained, Aug. 19, by Taylor Dobbs & Annie Russell