Incumbents shine in statewide races
By Peter Hirschfeld
Vermont Press Bureau | November 07,2012
BURLINGTON — True to form, Vermont voters shined on their incumbents Tuesday, renewing the terms of all the sitting statewide officeholders. And in what was by far the closest race of the night, Doug Hoffer looked poised to pick up a key post for Democrats by winning the open auditor’s post.
With about 89 percent of the vote counted, Hoffer held a more than 6-point edge over Republican Vince Illuzzi. Illuzzi, a 32-year veteran of the Vermont Senate, said he was disappointed with the results but would wait for more precincts to report before commenting on the outcome.
Hoffer was unavailable for comment.
In a closely watched race for treasurer that drew perhaps more media attention than any other contest this fall, incumbent Beth Pearce defeated Republican challenger Wendy Wilton, who conceded by phone at about 11 p.m.
With more than 89 percent of the vote counted, Pearce had a more than 12-point lead over Wilton.
“We feel great,” Emerson said before the call. “With all the bellwethers we have combined with what we’re seeing on the news, it looks very good for us.”
The conservative super PAC Vermonters First poured more than $200,000 into Wilton’s candidacy, running television, radio and web advertisements on her behalf.
Emerson said field organization by the Pearce campaign and the Vermont Democratic Party, combined with his candidate’s resonance with voters, was more than enough to counteract the influence of the outside money.
“We just had a really effective ground game, and it shows what you can do when you have grassroots support behind you,” Emerson said.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott was the lone bright spot for Republicans, picking up a second term by a comfortable margin. With 89 percent of the vote tallied, Scott held a 17-point lead over Progressive/Democratic challenger Cassandra Gekas.
After surviving a scare in the Democratic primary, Attorney General Bill Sorrell easily won an eighth term against Republican challenger Jack McMullen. As of press time, Sorrell had more than 58 percent of the vote to McMullen’s 33 percent.
McMullen said he did the best he could, running TV ads and sending mailers, given the presidential race in a blue state.
“I would have thought an incumbent who suffered a near narrow defeat would have had more trouble in the general,” he said.
Progressive candidate for attorney general Ed Stanak had slightly more than 5 percent of the vote as of press time. By winning more than 5 percent of the vote, Stanak ensures that Progressives will retain major-party status.
First-term Secretary of State Jim Condos, a Democrat, was uncontested.