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Election 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Shumlin Widens Lead in Complete, Unofficial Results

Posted By on Sat, Nov 8, 2014 at 1:26 PM

click image Results as of November 12, 2014
  • Results as of November 12, 2014
Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin won 2,434 more votes than Republican challenger Scott Milne in last Tuesday's election, according to new results released late Friday night by the secretary of state's office.

Those results constitute a final count of all 275 polling places, but will not be certified by the state canvassing committee until Wednesday at 10 a.m. Statewide candidates within 2 percent of the top vote-getter can request a recount, but must do so by the end of the day Wednesday.

According to the final tally, Shumlin received 89,509 votes, or 46.4 percent of the 193,087 votes cast. Milne collected 87,075 votes, or 45.1 percent. Libertarian Dan Feliciano won 8,428 votes, or 4.4 percent. 

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Calling Shumlin Victory 'Premature,' Milne Considers Contesting Result

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Scott Milne with his father, Donald, Tuesday night in Burlington. - OLIVER PARINI
  • Oliver Parini
  • Scott Milne with his father, Donald, Tuesday night in Burlington.
Updated at 7:50 p.m. with more from Scott Milne and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott.

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin says he won Tuesday’s razor-thin gubernatorial race, but Republican Scott Milne is considering contesting the outcome.

The Pomfret businessman called Shumlin’s declaration of victory “premature” in a statement issued Thursday afternoon and said he might consider requesting a recount. Milne also suggested he might call on the Vermont legislature to name him governor, instead of Shumlin, when it convenes in January.

“It’s clear that 54 percent of Vermonters want a new governor and a new path forward,” Milne said in the statement, referring to those who voted for one of Shumlin’s six opponents.

According to the latest Associated Press count, which includes all polling places, Shumlin led Milne by 2,095 votes. The incumbent picked up 89,883 votes, or 46.4 percent, compared with the challenger’s 87,788 votes, or 45.3 percent.

Vermont’s constitution calls on the legislature to select the governor, lieutenant governor or treasurer from among the top three vote-getters when none take more than 50 percent of the vote.

That’s happened in 23 previous gubernatorial races — most recently when Shumlin narrowly defeated Republican Brian Dubie for the open seat in 2010. In all but three instances, the legislature chose the candidate who won a plurality. The last time it didn’t was in 1853, according to the AP.

But in his statement Thursday, Milne cited a different historical precedent. In 1976, the legislature selected Republican T. Garry Buckley over Democrat John Alden in the race for lieutenant governor, even though Alden came out slightly ahead on Election Day. Rumors were circulating at the time that Alden was under investigation for fraud, and he was later convicted.

“If we move forward, I expect Peter Shumlin has a good likelihood of facing the same fate as John Alden,” Milne said, “and I will be Vermont’s next governor.”

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A 'Humbled' Shumlin Says He Won, But Milne Declines to Concede

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Gov. Shumlin addresses reporters Wednesday at Burlington's City Hall Park. - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Gov. Shumlin addresses reporters Wednesday at Burlington's City Hall Park.
Updated at 9:38 p.m.

A day after he nearly lost his job, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Wednesday he was “humbled” by the outcome of his third campaign for governor.

“Vermonters sent a message last night and I heard it. I heard it loud and clear,” Shumlin said during an afternoon press conference in Burlington’s City Hall Park. “We have faced our share of setbacks in the past couple of years, and I know that people are disappointed in how I’ve handled some issues. I recognize that I have work to do to regain the confidence of many Vermonters.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Gov. Peter Shumlin
According to an Associated Press count of all 275 polling places, Shumlin led Republican Scott Milne by just 2,088 votes out of 193,603 cast.

The Pomfret businessman indicated early Wednesday that he was likely to concede the race, but later reversed course and pledged to wait “to see the totals” before making a final decision.

“What is clear is that the majority of Vermonters do not agree with the path that we are on,” Milne said in a written statement. “We are going to wait for the final numbers.”

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In Night of Surprises, Shumlin Suffers Stunning Rebuke

Posted By , and on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Gov. Peter Shumlin - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Gov. Peter Shumlin
This article was originally posted on 11/05/14 at 5:10 am.

Vermonters issued a stunning rebuke to Gov. Peter Shumlin Tuesday, leaving the two-term Democrat within inches of his political life. 

By the end of the night, Shumlin was narrowly leading Republican Scott Milne, but neither candidate came close to winning a majority of the vote. That means no matter who prevails, the race will be decided by the legislature. 

Vermont Democrats appeared likely to lose two seats in the 30-member Senate and at least eight in the 150-member House, though their majorities in both bodies were not imperiled. The most prominent Democrat to lose his seat was Rep. Mike Fisher (D-Lincoln), who chaired the House Committee on Health Care. 

While Shumlin and his legislative allies suffered a tough night, Vermonters weren't ready to throw out all the bums. Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott handily defeated Progressive/Democrat Dean Corren, while Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) beat Republican challenger Mark Donka by a similar margin.

The rest of Vermont's statewide Democratic incumbents — Attorney General Bill Sorrrell, Treasurer Beth Pearce, Secretary of State Jim Condos and Auditor Doug Hoffer — easily won reelection. 

Vermont's congressional delegation and their spouses. - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Vermont's congressional delegation and their spouses.
Neither U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) nor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was on the ballot Tuesday, but both suffered the effects of a Republican wave that swept the nation. As Democrats lost control of the Senate, Leahy lost his ceremonial position as its president pro tempore and his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sanders, who spent two years at the helm of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, also lost his gavel.

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Vermont Gubernatorial Race Too Close to Call

Posted By and on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 12:34 AM

Scott Milne talks with his father, Donald Milne, as election results are reported. - OLIVER PARINI
  • Oliver Parini
  • Scott Milne talks with his father, Donald Milne, as election results are reported.
Updated: 12:29 a.m.

In a remarkable turn of events, Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin and Republican challenger Scott Milne called it a night Tuesday without either candidate declaring victory or defeat.

At midnight, with 80 percent of precincts reporting to the secretary of state’s office, Shumin led Milne just 81,485 votes to 79,057 — or 46.5 percent to 45 percent. Libertarian Dan Feliciano trailed with 7,630 votes, or 4.4 percent.

Shumlin appeared in the Adirondack Ballroom at Burlington’s Hilton Hotel at 11:15 p.m. to tell supporters they would have to wait until Wednesday to know for sure who won.

“We all know that tonight is a close election,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a close election going in, and we were right.”

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In Vermont Senate Races, Competition Emerged for Seats

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 5:00 PM

With just seven Republicans in the 30-member Senate, the GOP sought to make gains this fall by targeting moderate districts featuring Democratic incumbents.

The most competitive races appeared to be in Franklin, Rutland, Washington and Orange counties. Republican Joy Limoge, a Williston attorney, raised more money than any other Senate candidate, but she faced steep odds in liberal Chittenden County’s six-member district.

In Franklin County, Democrats Sara Kittell and Bill Roberts, Republican Dustin Degree and independent Michael Malone sought to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Don Collins. Also running in the two-member district was incumbent Republican Sen. Norm McAllister.

Kittell, a school nurse, served 17 years in the Statehouse before retiring in 2012. Degree, a former House member and aide to former governor Jim Douglas, lost to Collins by 35 votes two years ago.

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Former Deputies Win State's Attorney Offices in Orleans, Rutland Counties

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 3:09 PM

  • Marc Brierre, from campaign website
Former deputy state's attorneys secured the top jobs in Rutland and Orleans counties.

With 31 of 32 precincts reporting, Rutland County State’s Attorney Marc Brierre trailed by 450 votes his former deputy, Rosemary Kennedy, whom he fired after she announced she was running against him earlier this year.

Brierre, a Republican, was appointed state's attorney by Gov. Jim Douglas in 2009, and won a four-year term in 2010.

Kennedy, a Democrat, criticized her old boss for being too passive in prosecuting drug crimes and for losing a case in which the defendant was charged with attempting to kill a Rutland police officer. She secured endorsements from both Rutland Police Chief James Baker and Rutland Mayor Chris Louras.

In Orleans County, former office clerk Jenniffer Barrett was coasting to victory. With 19 of 20 precincts reporting, Barrett had 50 percent of the vote, deputy state's attorney James Lillicrap had 39 percent, and independent Ben Luna had 19 percent.

  • Rosemary Kennedy, from campaign website
Barrett, who currently works as a deputy prosecutor in Bennington County, beat current Orleans County State’s Attorney Alan Franklin in the Republican primary last summer, saying Franklin was not aggressive enough in prosecuting drug crimes and was too eager to enter into plea deals. She has been endorsed by the Newport police chief.

Lillicrap, a Democrat, was hired as a deputy prosecutor by Franklin in 2010. Luna worked for five years as a deputy prosecutor in Caledonia County.

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House Seats Go to O'Sullivan, Wright, Cole, Bissonnette, Gonzalez

Posted By and on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Clockwise from top right: Michael Ly (R), Jean O'Sullivan (D), Roy Collette (L), Scot Shumski(R), Loyal Ploof (L), Kurt Wright (R), Bob Hooper (D), Joanna Cole (D) - MARC NADEL
  • Marc Nadel
  • Clockwise from top right: Michael Ly (R), Jean O'Sullivan (D), Roy Collette (L), Scot Shumski(R), Loyal Ploof (L), Kurt Wright (R), Bob Hooper (D), Joanna Cole (D)
Update, 9:28 p.m. 11/4/2014:
Unofficial results posted by Burlington show Jean O'Sullivan bested Scot Shumski in the Chittenden 6-2 district. And in Chittenden 6-1, Kurt Wright and Joanna Cole won seats, with Michael Ly a close third. And in Winooski, 
Clem Bissonnette and Diana Gonzalez won seats in the Chittenden 6-7 district.

Winooski and Burlington were home to some closely fought campaigns for the House of Representatives.

In Burlington’s Chittenden 6-2 district, Democratic representative Jean O’Sullivan faced her first contested election since Gov. Peter Shumlin appointed her to the House in 2011. Both she and her opponent, Republican Scot Shumski, a recently elected school board member, campaigned doggedly. The district is politically diverse by Burlington standards — it includes parts of the solidly Democratic Old North End and the more conservative New North End.

O’Sullivan, an unabashed liberal who previously worked as a stockbroker, said her goals for another term include making it easier for convicted felons to find employment and housing after prison.

Shumski, who quickly gained a reputation as an outspoken maverick advocating for cutting school spending, told voters he wanted to revamp the statewide property-tax system and address the heroin crisis. During the campaign, he repeatedly denied allegations that he was tied to the Tea Party. Former Seven Days columnist Shay Totten called Shumski’s assertions into question when he reported that the candidate had been tweeting from an account that defended the Tea Party platform, under the name SlappyWhyte. Shumski responded by accusing his critics of "McCarthyism."

The November 1 campaign finance disclosures show that Shumski and O'Sullivan each raised roughly $4,400. Shumski's fundraising included a $500 donation from Lenore Broughton, who bankrolled the conservative super PAC Vermonters First during the 2012 election.

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Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is Victor Over Challenger Dean Corren

Posted By and on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne talks with Phil Scott, right, on election night. - OLIVER PARINI
  • Oliver Parini
  • Gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne talks with Phil Scott, right, on election night.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott — the Republicans' sole statewide officeholder — fended off a challenge from a former lawmaker, Progressive Dean Corren.

Scott secured 62 percent of the vote to Corren's 36 percent with nearly half of the precincts reporting.

In his concession speech, Corren touted the fact that he won Brattleboro by a 2-1 margin over Scott.

"I'm proud of what we said and I'm proud of how we said it," Corren told progressive supporters inside Magnolia Bistro. "I wish Phil a highly successful term. But only one term."

Scott later started off his victory speech by embracing criticisms lobbed at him during the campaign. Referring to a caller on a radio show, Scott recalled, "He said I was too common, inarticulate, really too simple to run the state. 'Like a farmer,' he said. In answer to those accusations I say, 'Guilty as charged.'"

He added, "Because I feel I am one of them, and I am a Vermonter and I am common."

In an interview, Corren said it was difficult to unseat the popular Scott when the Republican has not taken a lot of firm positions that could potentially alienate voters.

"It's incumbency," Corren said. "And being outspent didn't help. In the last four years, you haven't seen a lot of engagement on the issues by the lieutenant governor. I think we've been trained to not expect the lieutenant governor to contribute to policy and legislation. The problem is most people don't know where he stands on the issues."

Corren established himself as a contender when he announced in June that he'd collected enough small donations to qualify for nearly $200,000 in public campaign financing. Scott responded by promptly revving up his fundraising apparatus. With a little help from a few of his Democratic allies, he brought in nearly $290,000. 

Remembered in the Statehouse for his strong opinions and sharp intellect, Corren said his dedication to single-payer health care compelled him to challenge Scott, who's professed ambivalence on the subject, repeatedly saying he is "waiting to see the details."

Scott, who's carved out a reputation as a blue-collar broker of compromises, has ruffled few feathers during four years as lieutenant governor and 10 years in the Senate before that. 

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Welch Wins Fifth Term in U.S. House

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 3:02 PM

  • Markdonkaforvt.com
  • Mark Donka
Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) bested GOP challenger Mark Donka and a handful of independent candidates as he won yet another term in the state's only seat in the U.S. House.

Donka is a Woodstock police officer who also challenged Welch in 2012. He emerged from a close three-way primary battle last summer as winner of the Republican nomination. Donka campaigned on balancing the federal budget, rolling back the Affordable Care Act — or “Obamacare” — and tackling the national debt.

Congressman Peter Welch - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Congressman Peter Welch
He faced an incumbent who enjoys high name-recognition and a healthy campaign war chest. Welch, who prides himself on working with House Republicans, has sought to create government incentives to make homes and businesses more energy efficient.

The contest had four other candidates as well: Matthew Andrews of the Liberty Union Party, and independents Cris Ericson, Randall Meyer and Jerry Trudell.

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