The media spotlight last night focused on the statewide races and that Obama guy, but there were some spirited races on the local level, as well. The big wins Democrats showed at the top of the ticket trickled down to the Legislature; as it stands Democrats added two seats for a "supermajority" of 96 seats in the House of Representatives, while Progressives picked up a couple seats and Republicans lost three. The 22-8 split in the state Senate in favor of the Democrats appears it will hold, although each party holds a seat, for now, that could still change.
With the caveat that results are still unofficial, here's how some of Vermont's other interesting races shook out.
State Senate - Chittenden
Five of Chittenden County's six incumbent senators ran for reelection, and all of them won. Democrat-Progressive Tim Ashe topped the group, with 33,606 votes as of this writing. Diane Snelling, the lone incumbent Republican, finished in the fifth.
Former state representative David Zuckerman, running as a Progressive-Democrat, won the open seat being vacated by Hinda Miller. Zuckerman finished fourth overall, netting 28,974 votes. Incumbent Ginny Lyons finished second with 34,176 votes, Sally Fox finished third with 33,850 votes, and Phil Baruth finished sixth with 30,278 votes. Democrat Debbie Ingram was the first loser, with 20,705 votes — about 4500 behind Snelling. Former Burlington mayor Bob Kiss, running as an independent, received 10,799 votes and finished a distant eighth place.
State Senate - Franklin
Four candidates finished within less than 1000 votes of each other for Franklin County's two Senate seats, both of which were open. As it stands now, the seats will remain split between parties — Republican Norm McAllister came in first place, with Democrat Don Collins taking second. But state Rep. Dustin Degree, a Republican, finished close behind Collins, and the St. Albans Messenger is reporting that the race will likely be challenged. Democrat Caroline Bright, a former Miss Vermont, finished in fourth place.
Incumbents Joe Benning (R) and Jane Kitchel (D) faced challenges from local Democratic committee chair Stephen Amos and former secretary of transportation David Dill. But in this district the status quo held — Benning and Kitchel held on for two more years.
State House - Chittenden 6-1 (Burlington)
One of the two incumbents got bounced in this district representing Burlington's New North End. Statehouse fixture Bill Aswad lost to fellow Democrat Joanna Cole for his district's second seat by less than 30 votes. Incumbent Republican Kurt Wright finished first to hold his seat.
State House - Chittenden 6-3 (Burlington)
The biggest Progressive-vs.-Democrat battle of the 2012 election ended with a decisive TKO in the Dems' favor. Incumbent Jill Krowinski will be joined by Curt McCormack after both Democrats finished comfortably ahead of Progressives Gene Bergman and Kit Andrews.
One rare black mark on state Democrats' mostly-stellar election night was in Rutland City, where Democrats lost two of their three House seats. Republican Douglas Gage took Gale Courcelle's vacated seat, while incumbent Dem Peg Andrews lost to Republican Cooper Cupoli. Herb Russell held one seat for the Democrats, while Republican state rep Peter Fagan went unchallenged for the city's fourth seat.
State House - Rutland-Windsor 2
The one incumbent-on-incumbent fight created by redistricting happened in this district, representing Ludlow, Mount Holly and Shrewsbury. Republican Dennis Devereux (previously of Windsor-Rutland 1) won the new seat, defeating Democrat Eldred French (previously of Rutland-3).
Question 2, on using TIF financing to redevelop sections of the waterfront, passed 75 to 25.
Question 3, raising the city property tax to pay for bike path maintenance, passed 73 to 27.
The final ballot item, an "advisory vote" on legalizing marijuana, passed 70 to 30. But don't spark that bowl just yet, stoners — unlike the formal pot legalization votes that passed in Colorado and Washington State yesterday, this was strictly a nonbinding referendum. (background on those last three ballot items here)