White River Valley Voters Mirror State

Election volunteers work at the Bethel polls Tuesday. According to Town Clerk Pam Brown, turnout was excellent for a midterm election, with several first-time voters casting ballots. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

Bellwether Towns Reflect Statewide Trends

Twenty-eighteen in Vermont was a good year for incumbents.

Their numbers were strong in every federal, statewide, and White River Valley race. In all, the 16 towns in The Herald coverage area had a hand in sending public servants back to office in 24 races, ranging from U.S. Senate to local house representatives.

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In Vermont as a whole and in the White River Valley, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Rep. Peter Welch (D) garnered overwhelming support, each besting his nearest opponent— Republicans Lawrence Zupan and Anya Tynio, respectively— by about 40 percentage points.

That vote returns Sanders and Welch to Washington, keeping Vermont’s three-person congressional delegation intact for the coming session. Democrat Patrick Leahy, the state’s senior senator, is in the second year of a six-year term. His seat will be on the ballot in 2022.

Executive Officers

Vermont’s gubernatorial race played out predictably, with Gov. Phil Scott returning to office after posting very strong numbers.

He bested Democrat Christine Hallquist, tallying 54% of the vote compared to Hallquist’s 40%.

Other candidates in the race recorded statewide votes lower than the 1% mark, except for independent Trevor Barlow with 1.17% of the vote.

The White River Valley echoed the state in reëlecting Scott. He surpassed Hallquist with votes in every area town except for Granville and Strafford.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, incumbent David Zuckerman (D/P) was only slightly more successful than Gov. Scott, winning 57% of the statewide vote, an 18 percentage-point edge over his nearest opponent, Republican Don Turner.

In the White River Valley, only Chelsea preferred Turner over Zuckerman by just 29 votes.

Similarly, the White River Valley supported incumbents for every other statewide office, some by dramatic margins.

Treasurer Beth Pearce (D), Secretary of State Jim Condos (D), and Attorney General T.J. Donovan (D) all tallied more than 60% of the vote statewide. Auditor Doug Hoffer (D/P) did nearly as well, winning 58%.

No town in the White River Valley differed with the statewide choices for those offices.

Good Year for Turnout

Voter turnout was also quite high for a midterm election, perhaps spurred by the high drama of the national stage.

Town clerks in the area reported that many first-time voters found their way to the polls this year.

Barnard, as usual, lead the pack with over 72% voter turnout. Ten additional towns in the area had greater than 60% turnout.

Rochester and Pittsfield nearly broke the 70% mark and Strafford made 69%.

Bethel Town Clerk Pam Brown (administering her first election in the role after taking over from Jean Burnham) noted that she had been pleased to see young voters turn out for their first votes, many registering that day. Bethel ended the day with 63.7% voter participation.

In Randolph, that number was 61.7%.

During vote counting in Randolph Tuesday night, Town Clerk Joyce Mazzuco said she had registered 44 voters on Election Day.

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