When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) went up against Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s Vermont Democratic presidential primary, voters came out in a big way for the independent home-state senator, who’s been on the statewide ballot for the better part of half a century.
But where in Vermont was the love for Bernie the strongest? Stannard, the tiny Northeast Kingdom town that sits west of St. Johnsbury in Caledonia County.
That’s where Sanders won his highest percentage-point victory, according to unofficial results reported to the Secretary of State’s Office. Of the 48 Stannard residents who voted in the Democratic primary, 47 went for Sanders, and just one chose Clinton. In other words, Sanders won just shy of 98 percent of the vote. Stannard also happens to be where Sanders lived for a time in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was a resident there when his son, Levi, was born.
Of course it's easier to get a high-percentage vote in a small town, but Sanders’ strong showing in Stannard and other small Northeast Kingdom towns meshes with the longstanding notion that despite his leftist leanings, the senator does well in rural, farming communities among conservatives and liberals alike.
Clinton fared best percentage-wise in the tony Upper Valley town of Norwich, where she won 28 percent of the vote.
For sheer volume, not surprisingly, Burlington — the state’s largest, most liberal city — cast the most ballots for its former mayor. Sanders won 9,105 votes to Clinton’s 1,471, or 86 percent of the vote. Burlington also gave Clinton her highest vote count of any town or city in Vermont.
Clinton won just 13.6 percent of the vote statewide — not enough for her to win any district delegates in Vermont. That's despite the fact that Clinton's campaign made a last-minute push in Vermont in hopes of winning some delegates, and the endorsement of some of the state's top elected leaders. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Gov. Peter Shumlin, former governor Howard Dean, House Speaker Shap Smith (D-Morristown) and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger all came out for Clinton.
In the end, Clinton didn't win as many Vermont votes as Republican Donald Trump did. With a few stray towns yet to report their results, the former secretary of state had 17,688 Vermont votes — 122 fewer than Trump.