County supports Dunne, Scott, Zuckerman
ST. ALBANS — There were few surprises coming out of last night’s primary vote. Franklin County voters ended former Senator Norm McAllister’s several-term political career, but supported their incumbents in the other local races.
Statewide, Democratic voters chopped out two candidates each in both the race for governor and for lieutenant governor, while Republican voters eliminated the man who promised “a new look” at state politics.
Incumbent Republican Senator Dustin Degree and Georgia House Representative Carolyn Branagan will represent county Republicans in this fall’s Senate race. Degree received 2,855 votes countywide, just over 45.77 percent of the Republican total. Branagan received 2,570, 41.20 percent. McAllister received 813, 13.03 percent.
“Needless to say, I’m delighted,” Branagan said. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out,” because of typical low voter turnout for state primaries.
Branagan said she’s excited to face off against the other three candidates, Degree and Democratic candidates Denise Smith and Sara Kittell, and to discuss the problems facing Franklin County, because each candidate comes from a different area of expertise.
“It’s going to be great,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. I only want the best for Franklin County and I think that’s where we’re headed.”
The margin between McAllister and his fellow candidates was narrowest in Highgate, where McAllister resides, but even there, McAllister placed third, 113 versus Branagan’s 134 and Degree’s 189.
“I’m not terribly surprised,” McAllister said, after the results came in. He said he knew it was going to be a “long shot.”
“I’m pleased at the number of people that did vote for me,” McAllister said. “It shows they didn’t believe the stuff that’s been put out.”
McAllister said he planned on writing a few thank you notes.
Swanton and Sheldon Republicans decided on their Franklin-4 House candidates, supporting incumbents Brian Savage (541 votes, 40.71 percent) and Marianna Gamache (456 votes, 34.31 percent) and eliminating newcomer Jamie Carter (165, 12.42 percent) from the race.
Carter did better in Sheldon, where he resides, with 71 votes to Savage’s 86 and Gamache’s 89, but lost by a significant margin in Swanton, where Gamache and Savage reside, receiving 94 votes against Savage’s 455 and Gamache’s 367.
Grand Isle-Chittenden Democrats supported incumbent Representative Mitzi Johnson (772 votes, 28.94 percent), and chose Ben W. Joseph (560 votes, 20.99 percent) over fellow newcomers Andrew Julow (550, 20.61 percent) and Evan Hill (298, 11.17 percent). A total of 2,668 votes were cast.
The two Democrats will face off against Republicans Robert Brown and Jason Moquin in November in the two-seat district.
At the state level, Democrats chose former Agency of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter as their candidate for governor by a double-digital margin over former Google employee Matt Dunne — Minter received 35,478 votes, 49.77 percent, while Dunne received 26,057, 36.55 percent. A third candidate, former Windham County Senator Peter Galbraith, received 6,475 votes, 9.08 percent.
In the Republican race for governor, state voters chose Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott over political newcomer Bruce Lisman by A significant margin, 59.79 percent to 38.97 percent, 27,206 votes to 17,734.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came in the Democratic competition for lieutenant governor, when state voters chose farmer and Chittenden County Senator David Zuckerman over attorney and House Speaker Shap Smith.
Zuckerman received 42.82 percent of the vote, 30,531 votes total, against Smith’s 36.69 percent and 26,160 votes.
A third candidate, Chittenden Representative Kesha Ram, received 11,910 votes, 16.70 percent.
The state race looked a little different in Franklin County. Franklin County Democrats supported Dunne over Minter, 44.30 percent to 41.74 percent — especially in Swanton, where Dunne claimed 153 votes and Minter only 32, and Richford, where Dunne received 58 votes, Minter 10.
Galbraith received 13.96 percent of Franklin County’s vote, but did well in Swanton, where he received 127 votes, and Richford, where he received 38, placing second in both towns, far ahead of Minter.
The county’s Republicans weren’t so quick to toss Lisman aside, either, giving the former Wall Street guru 45.02 percent of the vote against Scott’s 54.98 percent — 1,749 votes to 2,136.
Franklin County Democrats overwhelmingly supported Zuckerman over Smith, 46.19 percent to 39.21 percent.