Just before 6 p.m. tonight, I pulled into Richmond, where a crew of supporters was rallying on Route 2 for Taylor Yeates, the 18-year-old vying for a House seat in the Chittenden-4 district. (Unsuccessfully, it turns out: Democratic hopeful Ann O'Brien just won.) Down the road at Bridge Street Hair, cosmetologist Heather Ingham was prepping a client's dew.
Bridge Street Hair is owned by Denise Begins Barnard, a Richmond House Democrat who gave up her seat to run for Senate. Barnard is competing with four Senate incumbents -- Ed Flanagan, Ginny Lyons, Hinda Miller and Doug Racine -- and Burlington City Councilor-turned-Dem/Prog "fusion" candidate Tim Ashe for one of Chittenden County's six Senate seats. Burlington Free Press reporter Nancy Remsen calls it a "simmering" race.
Barnard, I learned, was watching election results in Burlington.
Heather Ingham, the 34-year-old cosmetologist, said she has known Barnard for 29 years. Working in the politico's hair salon "brings me closer to what's going on," she said. "Sometimes you get the inside scoop through shop talk."
Ingham, whose T-shirt read, "DEMOCRATS MAKE BETTER LOVERS," said she is excited to see Barnard making a bid for the Senate. Still, she added, "I think a lot of people are upset she's not going to be their Rep."
After saying goodnight to Ingham, I wandered into the nearby Bridge Street Cafe, which is owned by Marvin Carpenter, a justice of the peace who is also the vice-chair of Richmond's Development Review Board. Carpenter's wife, Tina, works with Ingham at Barnard's Bridge Street Hair.
"Is Marvin around?" I asked a waitress.
"He's not here," she said. "He's counting ballots."