By Guy Page
Incumbent Gov. Phil Scott trounced persistent challenger John Klar in Tuesday’s Republican primary election, but now Klar is pondering running as an independent in the Nov. 3 general election.
Klar emailed Vermont Daily on Wednesday and said he is undecided about whether to run as an independent in the Nov. 3 general election. He has filed the necessary paperwork to run as an independent, if he so chooses. Whether or not he runs in November, his campaign’s influence will be felt in the general election: at least five candidates affiliated with his campaign won GOP nominations in contested primaries.
With 99% of districts reporting, Scott had tallied 42,150 votes, Klar 12,757. Klar won seven small Vermont towns: Tinmouth, Troy, Ira, Jamaica, Lowell, Sandgate, and Searsburg. However, Republican voting in other towns and all urban areas ran strongly for Scott.
Milne wins lieutenant governor nomination
In the race for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, businessman Scott Milne of Pomfret (46%) defeated health care policy advocate Meg Hansen (29%). At about 9 p.m. Tuesday night, with Milne up by about 10 percentage points and her impending loss uncertain but likely, Hansen shared her heart with her supporters on a Facebook video: “I want to thank all of you who voted for me, who went to the polls today, absentee or early balloting … all day long I’ve been getting some wonderful messages .. I’m so honored,” she said, her voice breaking. “I’m grateful and honored to have participated in this.”
“There are tens of thousands of Vermonters who are hurting … the system doesn’t work,” Hansen said. “We stand up for what is right and call out what is wrong. … When people try to punch down on us and bully us, we stand up,” Hansen added.
“If a Democrat wins, it won’t change … the people who benefit from the status quo, they won’t change, and why should they, they benefit from it,” Hansen said. “It’s not wrong to want to buy a house and raise a family in Vermont, but it’s just completely out of reach here, and that’s what this campaign is about.”
Unknown Berry wins contested primary for Congress
Political unknown Miriam Berry of Essex Junction, a registered nurse, violin player and screenplay writer, defeated three other candidates, including 2018 nominee Anya Tynio, to win the Republican nomination for U.S. House. She will face incumbent Democrat Peter Welch, who easily won the nomination with 96% of the vote.
Berry earned 25% of the votes cast, enough to beat Justin Tuthill (19%), 2018 nominee Anya Tynio of Charleston (16%), and Jimmy Rodriguez (14%). Like Scott, Berry cleaned up in the larger communities, especially in Chittenden County.
Statewide, voter turnout as of 2 p.m. Wednesday totaled 159,701, with 99% of districts reporting. It was the highest vote total ever for a Vermont primary, eclipsing the previous record of 122,000. The record turnout is attributed to huge participation in the absentee-ballot-by-request program. Results published below do not include any write-in candidates, only those whose names were printed on the ballots.
Tomasi, Tucker & Alger win contested GOP Washington County Senate primary
Washington County Democrat senate incumbents Anthony Pollina, Ann Cummings and Andy Perchlik will face challenges in November from Republicans Dawn Marie Tomasi, Dwayne Tucker, and Ken Alger. Former Montpelier Bridge publisher Nat Frothingham will run as an independent.
Tucker, who ran for Senate two years ago, and Tomasi, a political newcomer affiliated with the Klar campaign, both had 2,545 votes, good for 14.7% of total votes cast. had 2,489 votes. Alger, who also ran two years ago, had 2,388 votes, for 13.8% Brent Young finished out of the running with 11%.
There were at least four contested GOP primaries in the 150 districts of the Vermont House of Representatives.
Incumbent Graham, newcomer Lefebvre take Orange-1 primary
Newcomer Samantha Lefebvre (20% of vote), a 25-year-old mom and business owner, edged out another John Klar-affiliated candidate, Levar Cole (16%), to win the Republican nomination for the second seat in the Orange 1 House district (Orange, Williamstown, Corinth, Vershire, Chelsea, Washington). Incumbent Rodney Graham was the leading vote-getter, with 30%.
Brennan, Lynch win in Malletts Bay district
Incumbent Pat Brennan (38%) and Klar-affiliated candidate Jon Lynch (22%) won the GOP nomination for the two-seat Malletts Bay, Colchester district, Chittenden 9-2. Alex Darr finished a distant third.
Toscano tops in Hinesburg
Sarah Toscano (45%), another Klar-affiliated candidate, defeated Dean Rolland (37%) in the Chittenden 4-2 (Hinesburg) district. Toscano will face incumbent Rep. Bill Lippert.
Strong, Young take Orleans/Caledonia primary
Incumbent Vicki Strong (40%) and Klar-affiliated candidate Jeannine Young (21%) of Craftsbury finished 1-2 in the GOP primary for the two-seat Orleans/Caledonia House seat. Tabitha Armstrong and Frank Huard combined netted less than 20%. This district represents a possible GOP “pickup” in November as incumbent Democrat Sam Young opted to not seek re-election.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.