Wrapping up the final weekend
By PETER HIRSCHFELD
Vermont Press Bureau | November 05,2012
Kevin O’Connor / Staff Photo
Early voters line up at the Brattleboro town clerk’s office this weekend in advance of Tuesday’s election.
MONTPELIER — For a guy who spent most of the weekend standing on the side of the road waving at passers-by, Randy Brock seems awfully pleased with the cold rain that fell over much of the state Saturday and Sunday.
“There’s nothing better than standing out on a cold corner in the rain waving to cars,” the Republican candidate for governor said on his way to Newport for yet another honk-and-wave Sunday morning. “When the rain is falling and the wind is blowing, there tend to be a lot more toots of the horns.”
Such is the life of candidates for statewide office as the 2012 campaign season winds to a close. Fueled by caffeine, carbs and the prospects of electoral triumph, political hopefuls are trading sleep in the hopes of squeezing a few more votes into their column this Tuesday.
As Brock sped for the north country Sunday morning, Gov. Peter Shumlin was wrapping up a “diner tour” in Chittenden County with Democratic candidate for Treasurer Beth Pearce and Congressman Peter Welch.
Shumlin, Pearce and Welch would head to Montpelier later Sunday evening for a victory rally with other notable Democrats.
On Tuesday night, when travel-weary Democrats will gather at the Hilton Hotel and Republicans at the Capitol Plaza, candidates and their supporters will watch returns come in for five contested races for statewide office.
Shumlin will look to win a second term Tuesday running on much the same platform that carried him to victory in 2010. Shumlin hopes his promise to deliver single-payer health care and renewable energy development, combined with his commitment to fiscal conservatism, will deliver the voter mandate he’ll need to deliver on his agenda.
In a long-shot bid to become the first challenger in a half-century to defeat an incumbent governor, Brock hopes his warnings about the “recklessness” of Shumlin’s single-payer plan will resonate with Vermonters. Brock has also spent much of his campaign railing against a Democratic renewable energy policy that he says will hike electricity rates for homes and businesses.
Incumbent Lt. Gov. Phil Scott will look to retain his status as the highest-profile Republican officeholder in the state with a middle-of-the-road platform that won over voters in 2010. Democratic challenger Cassandra Gekas, the youngest major-party candidate in the field at 30 years old, has argued that her support for single-payer health care makes her a more fitting person to be second-in-command.
In a race that has drawn as much attention as the contest for governor, Democratic incumbent Beth Pearce hopes the state’s impeccable bond rating will compel voters to give her another term in office. Republican challenger Wendy Wilton has alleged fiscal mismanagement in the treasurer’s office under Pearce’s watch, and says the state is on the verge of a pension crisis that demands more scrutiny than the incumbent has been willing to devote.
In his second consecutive bid for the office, Democrat Doug Hoffer will try to win the open seat for auditor. By asking hard questions and letting the numbers guide the way, the Burlington policy analyst says he’ll transform the office. Republican Vince Illuzzi, meanwhile, tells voters that his role as a bridge-builder in his 32-year career in the Vermont Senate will serve him well in the auditor’s office.
In the race for attorney general, Democratic incumbent Bill Sorrell points to his 15-year track record prosecuting criminals, defending the environment and protecting consumers. Republican challenger Jack McMullen says the state’s narcotics problem demands more attention from the state’s top prosecutor. And Progressive Ed Stanak has said he’ll help Vermont close Vermont Yankee by focusing on areas over which the state does have authority, like water-quality permits.