Vermont Gov. Phil Scott cruised to reelection Tuesday night, beating Democratic challenger Christine Hallquist, who conceded the race around 10:20 p.m.
With all but four districts reporting, Scott had clinched 55 percent of the vote to Hallquist’s 40 percent. That’s larger than his margin of victory in 2016, when he beat Democrat Sue Minter by nine percentage points.
Throughout the campaign, the first-term governor touted his efforts to hold the line on taxes and fees and repeated his pledge to make Vermont more affordable.
After Hallquist conceded, Scott addressed fellow Republicans at the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Burlington. His mother, who had traveled from Florida, introduced him, and Scott’s wife, Diana, and two daughters also joined him onstage. This marks the fourth election that he's been the only Vermont Republican to win a statewide office.
“By electing a governor of one party and a legislature by another, the message Vermonters have sent to us tonight is clear: Work together,” Scott said. “They are saying we need to listen to one another and prove to the rest of the nation that in Vermont we can and will rise above partisan politics.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, arrive to vote in Burlington.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) coasted to reelection Tuesday night, winning a third term to the U.S. Senate without breaking a sweat. The Associated Press called the race for him at 7:00 p.m. sharp, the moment polls closed.
About two hours later, the AP projected that U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) won a seventh term representing Vermont’s at-large seat in the U.S. House.
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist from Burlington, faced Republican real estate agent Lawrence Zupan of Manchester, as well as seven other candidates, in a race that never quite took off. Sanders campaigned infrequently in the state, spending much of his time stumping for Democratic candidates across the country. He agreed to take part in just one debate and one candidate forum.
With 253 of 275 precincts reporting at 11:35 p.m., Sanders had 66 percent of the vote compared to 27 percent for Zupan.
At a Vermont Democratic Party gathering at the Hilton Burlington, Sanders told an enthusiastic crowd, “Being a United States senator from Vermont has been the honor of my life.”
David Zuckerman after unofficial results show he won the race for lieutenant governor.
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.
Vermont Democrats appear to have won a veto-proof majority in the state House on Tuesday and bolstered their existing supermajority in the Senate, according to preliminary results from the Secretary of State's Office.
Among the victims of a surge in Democratic enthusiasm was Rep. Kurt Wright (R-Burlington), who was ousted Tuesday by New North End voters. He was the last remaining Republican to represent the Queen City in the House.
A few districts remained unsettled as of early Wednesday morning, but unofficial returns indicated that Democrats picked up 12 seats held by Republicans, plus two seats occupied by independents. The Dems also lost two seats to Republicans, while Progressives held on to all seven of theirs.
If the current tallies hold, a net gain of 12 seats for Democrats and Progressives would push their combined caucuses to 102 — two more than the two-thirds majority required to override gubernatorial vetoes. The House Republican caucus would be reduced to a mere 43.
Burlington, South Burlington Voters Approve Big Bonds at Polls
By Molly Walsh
Rendering of the proposed renovation to Burlington High School
Big number, big question, big win.
The $70 million bond to rebuild Burlington High School passed resoundingly with 73.8 percent of the vote Tuesday. After all wards were tallied, the measure had passed by a count of 13,383 to 4,734.
Although the price tag seemed scary to some residents, school and city officials got behind the proposal and, ultimately, so did voters.
"I voted yes," registered nurse Hannah Warren said while at the polls Tuesday. "I think investing in education is always beneficial for our community. The high school could definitely use some love."
The megabond will pay for construction of a new, multistory building, while parts of the clunky 1960s high school complex will be demolished. The plans call for new classrooms, a bigger cafeteria and better handicap access and circulation through hallways.
Mr. Popularity: Scott Stands Alone on Bad Night for Republicans
"Fair Game" political column by John Walters
Gov. Phil Scott
Postelection hot take: Gov. Phil Scott is a popular guy.
The first-term Republican won reelection with relative ease on what was otherwise a bleak night for the Vermont Republican Party. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) sailed to victory. In fact, the Associated Press called Sanders' win at precisely 7 p.m., the moment the polls officially closed. Democrats also made gains in the Vermont House, perhaps even clinching a veto-proof majority.
"The news out of Vermont this election was clear," Scott said during a victory speech at the South Burlington DoubleTree by Hilton. "We can disagree. We can debate. We can do it with passion. But in this state, we can do it respectfully."
With more than eight out of 10 precincts reporting at press time Tuesday night, Scott was leading Democratic nominee Christine Hallquist 54 percent to 40 percent.
"It's been an amazing campaign," Hallquist said in a concession speech at the Hilton Burlington. "I've shed a lot of tears of joy for the people that have approached us over the last several days."