Now that the legislative biennium has wrapped up, elected officials and new candidates are turning their attention to the 2022 election season, complete with announcements of who is running and who is not.
In the campaign for state Senate, Sen. Corey Parent, R-Franklin, has announced he will not seek another term in November. At least two candidates have chosen to run for that seat representing Franklin County and Alburgh. The candidates include Republican Bob Norris, a former Franklin County Sheriff and the current state representative for Sheldon and Swanton. Democrat Pam McCarthy, who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2018, also has announced her candidacy. Parent recently told VTDigger that he thought the GOP would get better once “Trump was off-stage.”
Parent’s departure is part of a larger exodus as more than a third of the members of the Vermont Senate are set to retire. Two prominent Democrat senators who have announced their retirement include Michael Sirotkin, D-Chittenden, and Alice Nitka, D-Windsor.
Movement in the House
On the House side, state Rep. Tim Briglin, D-Thetford, announced he will not seek reelection. Briglin, who has occupied one of two seats representing Norwich, Sharon, Strafford and Thetford, is chair of the House Committee on Energy and Technology, and has been a vocal advocate for the failed Clean Heat Standard.
State Treasurer’s Office
State Treasurer Beth Pearce, a Democrat, has announced her retirement from the office due to health-related issues. Pearce has been both a supporter of pension reform for state retirees and an opponent of pension divestment from carbon fuels. Mike Pieciak, the state’s former Financial Regulation Commissioner, has announced that he will run for the office.
The retirement of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has opened up a race that includes former U.S. attorney for Vermont, Christina Nolan, who announced Wednesday that Gov. Jim Douglas will serve as her campaign chair. Nolan will run as a Republican.
“Governor Douglas’ ability to reach across the aisle, bring people together and achieve meaningful results is an approach I intend to emulate in the United States Senate, and I am beyond honored to have his support,” said Nolan in a press release Wednesday.
She will face U.S. Army veteran Gerald Malloy and political newcomer Justin Tuthill in the Republican primary.
“It’s really been about more spending and more control,” he said of current Democrat leadership in Washington. “I see the Democrat Party as seeking to keep the American worker down and dependent on government, and that’s not at all the vision of our founding fathers.”
Democrats seeking Leahy’s seat include U.S. Rep Peter Welch, D-Vt., and emergency medical worker Niki Thran.
Governor’s race shaping up
Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday announced he will seek a fourth term for governor. At his weekly press conference he defended his centrist positions, saying that those in the middle “have to contemplate what it is that would be best for the state, in this situation, or their constituents, and what you can live with.”
Political activist Brenda Siegel is so far the only challenger to announce a run for governor from the Democratic side. Siegel is chair of the Newfane Democratic Committee and delegate to the Windham County Democratic Committee. She is active as well with grassroots organizations including Rights & Democracy and People’s Action.
U.S. House race
In the race to replace U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, local news outlet Seven Days reported that Lt. Gov. Molly Gray has raised $628,000 through March in her campaign, including “tens of thousands of dollars from federal lobbyists.” Also seeking Welch’s seat are Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint, progressive candidate Sianay Clifford, Democrat Dr. Louis Meyers, and state Sen. Kesha Ram, D-Chittenden. Liam Madden, an independent, is also seeking the seat with a campaign focused largely on environmental sustainability.
Running from the Republican side are Burlington accountant Ericka Redic, and Anya Tynio, who serves as the Orleans County Committeewoman to the State Republican Party, and as Secretary and Treasurer for the Charleston Republican Committee.