In Vermont, the governor and lieutenant governor wage separate campaigns — often resulting in a split of the parties holding the state’s top two offices. On election night, an unexpectedly close race for Vermont Lieutenant Governor unfolded.
Currently Democrat Peter Shumlin is governor and Republican Phil Scott is Lieutenant Governor. In January, Democrat-endorsed Progressive David Zuckerman will become lieutenant governor beside Republican Governor Phil Scott.
Unofficial results from all of Vermont’s 275 election districts show Zuckerman won with 50.21 percent. Republican Randy Brock garnered 43.82 percent of the vote. Liberty Union candidate Boots Wardinski got 2.21 percent.
State Senator Zuckerman has served in the legislature for 18 years. A farmer by trade, he was endorsed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. During his victory speech, he said Vermont must lead the country on a number of issues in the wake of Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign victory. “We have to lead the way on climate change issues. We have to lead the way on economic justice. We have to lead the way of dealing with our social inequities when we have disproportionate rates of people of color being pulled over by law enforcement. We have to create a just and fair society here in Vermont and that's our responsibility. I take that responsibility very seriously. I look forward to working with all of you in the House and Senate so that we can make Vermonters lives better.”
Zuckerman says his campaign remained positive and issue-oriented. “I’ve talked about people's economic challenges. I’ve talked about the future of our state and our rural economy, the issues around climate change and what are we going to do to really address these challenges? And I stayed on those issues because that's what people actually really want to focus on is where are we going, not where we've been. And you know thankfully I think that resonated with voters.”
Brock is a former state senator and a former state auditor who often campaigned alongside governor-elect Phil Scott. “This is a bittersweet moment because I am so happy to know that Phil Scott has been elected governor of the state of Vermont. We're going to have an administration that will refocus on the things that will really mean a difference to Vermonters. I'm particularly gratified that this race that some predicted would be very, very wide wound up narrowing to the extent that it had.”
Brock says fiscal responsibility was the keystone of his campaign. “We need to focus on making our government operate better, more efficiently and smoother. We need to eliminate some of the red tape confusion bureaucracy duplication and poor business practices we have in state government. Doing those things alone will make a tremendous difference in how much we spend and what we spend it on.”
In other statewide races, Democrat T.J. Donovan defeated Republican Deborah Bucknam for attorney general. Incumbent Bill Sorrell, the longest serving attorney general in state history — first appointed in 1997 and reelected every two years since — is not seeking another term.
Democrats were reelected to the remaining statewide offices: Jim Condos returns as secretary of state. Beth Pearce will remain treasurer and Doug Hoffer, who is also a Progressive, was re-elected auditor of accounts.