Zuckerman, Down-Ballot Democrats Win Vermont’s Statewide Races | Off Message

Zuckerman, Down-Ballot Democrats Win Vermont’s Statewide Races

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Lt. Gov. Davis Zuckerman - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • Lt. Gov. Davis Zuckerman
Updated at 1:38 a.m. on November 7, 2018.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive and Democrat, will return to the Statehouse for a second two-year term.

The organic farmer from Hinesburg beat out Rep. Don Turner (R-Milton), the House minority leader, in the race for Vermont's No. 2 job. With all but six precincts reporting late Tuesday night, Zuckerman led Turner 57 percent to 39 percent.

All six of Vermont’s statewide officers won reelection Tuesday. In addition to Zuckerman and Republican Gov. Phil Scott, the victors included:

  • Democratic Attorney General T.J. Donovan, who led Republican Rep. Janssen Willhoit 68 percent to 25 percent.

  • Democratic Treasurer Beth Pearce, who led Republican Richard Morton 65 percent to 31 percent.

  • Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos, who led Republican H. Brooke Paige 65 percent to 29 percent. Liberty Union nominee Mary Alice Hebert picked up 3.5 percent of the vote.

  • Democratic and Progressive Auditor Doug Hoffer, who led Republican Richard Kenyon 58 percent to 32 percent. Liberty Union nominee Marina Brown took 4 percent of the vote.
Just before 10 p.m., Zuckerman visited a Vermont Progressive Party celebration at Folino's Wood Fired Pizza in Burlington. He climbed up on a handmade plywood platform to deliver a speech. 
Unofficial results as of 1:20 a.m. on November 7 - ANDREA SUOZZO
  • Andrea Suozzo
  • Unofficial results as of 1:20 a.m. on November 7
“We're going to make Vermont a progressive leader in the country,” he said, jabbing his finger at the cheering crowd. He vowed to help pass legislation guaranteeing paid family leave, a higher minimum wage and funding to reduce pollution in Lake Champlain and other state waterways.

Later Tuesday night, Zuckerman visited the Vermont Democratic Party gathering at the Hilton Burlington and repeated his pledge.

“The people in this room know what Vermonters want,” he said. “The people across the state know what Vermonters want. And we’re gonna go down there and give them what they want!”
Don Turner gives his concession speech. - SOPHIE MACMILLAN
  • Sophie MacMillan
  • Don Turner gives his concession speech.
At a Vermont Republican Party event at the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Burlington, Turner took the stage alongside family members and nearly 30 campaign volunteers. He said he had conceded to and congratulated Zuckerman by phone.

"While I know this isn’t the outcome we wanted, I’m very proud that we were able to run a civil, positive campaign that was free of the bitterness we see all too frequently in Washington these days," Turner said.

“Even though we didn’t make it across the finish line like we had anticipated, I’m glad I had the opportunity to represent our party on the statewide ticket,” the Republican added.

The night's results bring to a close — at least for now — Turner's 12 years of service in the Statehouse. He'll return to Milton, where he serves as town manager.
The race was always an uphill battle for Turner, who was unknown to two-thirds of Vermont voters polled in July by Vermont PBS and Vermont Public Radio. Zuckerman, by contrast, spent two decades representing portions of populous Chittenden County in the House and Senate. When VPR and Vermont PBS conducted another poll last month, it found that Zuckerman had support among 47 percent of voters compared to Turner’s 30 percent.

The campaign provided a clear contrast for voters, with Turner calling for fiscally conservative budgeting and lamenting Vermont’s tax burden and Zuckerman pushing for liberal policies such as a $15 minimum wage and fossil fuel divestment. Both said they favored a tax-and-regulate marijuana market, and they briefly teamed up early this year on an ill-fated effort to create such a system.
Wealthy conservative donors seemed to see promise in Turner’s campaign, pouring in enough money to push the Republican’s fundraising totals above Zuckerman’s. As of last Friday, Zuckerman had raised $184,898 while Turner’s campaign had raised $290,277.

At the Hilton Burlington, down-ballot Democrats took the stage to thank their supporters and, in some cases, address the national midterm elections.

“Know this: No matter what happens in Washington, D.C., we believe in justice in this state,” said Donovan, the newly reelected attorney general. “We believe in dignity. We believe in respect. And we believe in the human rights of all people, regardless of the hateful rhetoric that comes from our nation’s capital.”

Katie Jickling and Alicia Freese contributed reporting.