GOP ‘shows up’ for Vermont Senate races

By Guy Page
If filmmaker Woody Allen was right in 1989 when he said “80% of success is showing up,” then the Vermont Republican Party has taken a first successful step to improving on the six seats it now holds in the 30-seat Vermont Senate.

Thanks to some fast, last-minute footwork by GOP candidates and officials, there’s a Republican running for every seat in the Senate but one – just two, Michael Jasinski and Jack Williams, are running in three-seat Windsor County. But even in deep-blue Windsor a former GOP gubernatorial candidate (Keith Stern, Springfield) is running as an independent.

2020 marks the largest GOP turnout of Senate candidates for a general election in recent memory. For information on all Vermont Senate candidates, including candidate hometowns and contact information, click here.

Notably, for the first time in recent memory Chittenden County has six candidates running for the metropolitan county’s six Senate seat. They are Susan Bowen of Shelburne, Tom Chastenay of Milton, Kylie Hollingsworth of Milton, Kumulia “Kase” Long of Milton, Ericka Redic of Burlington, and Dean Rolland of Hinesburg.

In Bennington County, Meg Hansen of Manchester was able to throw her hat into the Senate ring after finishing second to Scott Milne of Barre in the August 11 primary race for lieutenant governor. State election law granting more flexibility due to the pandemic enabled a candidate defeated in a primary to have his/her name on the general election ballot for another race. And while enough voters wrote-in Campion’s name as the Republican candidate, he withdrew his name as the GOP nominee at the last minute. That left two open slots, making room for Hansen and Mike Hall to have their names added.

In Essex-Orleans, Russ Ingalls of Newport City and army veteran Jonathan Morin of Holland are seeking election against former D/R John Rodgers – he’s running as an independent after missing the filing deadline – and former D/R Bobby Starr, now running solely as a Democrat.

Incumbents Randy Brock and Corey Parent are running again in GOP stronghold Franklin County. In Caledonia, longtime incumbent Joe Benning will be joined on the Nov. 3 ballot by Charles Wilson of Lyndonville, a farmer and retired businessman.

Rutland County will try to regain its GOP sweep with incumbent Brian Collamore, Terry Williams, and Josh Terenzini. Bill Huff will again challenge incumbent Sen. Mark MacDonald in Orange County.

In Addison County, dairy farmer Peter Briggs will try again to unseat incumbents Chris Bray and Ruth Hardy. He’ll be joined by retiree Jon Christiano, former county chair of the party. Two bi-party incumbents will go unchallenged: Dick Mazza of Grand Isle (listed as a D first, R second) and Rich Westman of Lamoille (R first, D second).

Dawn-Marie Tomasi, Ken Alger and Dwayne Tucker won a GOP primary in three-seat Washington County. In Windham County, John Lyddy of Whitingham and Marcus Parish of Rockingham will try to unseat incumbents Becca Balint and Jeanette White.

Some of these candidates face long odds against established incumbents in deep blue counties. But at least they have showed up. What happens next is up to the voters.

COMMENTARY by Dr. Jill Rinehart, VT pediatrician:

Teen marijuana use will rise with legalized market – “Use of marijuana in adolescence is linked to poor school performance and increased high school dropout rates. Chronic use has been linked to IQ declines that do not recover with cessation, and an increased risk for later psychotic disorder in adulthood, worse job prospects, problems with memory and problem-solving and attention. Weekly use doubles the risk of developing anxiety and depression later in life. And increased cannabis use is associated with opioid misuse, heavy alcohol use, and depression.”

VT Watercooler Comment of the Day:

SANDERS CALL TRUMP THREAT TO DEMOCRACY – “Thanks for your comments… another of your strong contributions over the years… wait, what contributions…sure would like to see a list of the bills proposed/passed! By the way, rather than expending energy taking cheap shots at people you might want to save it and try working on your abysmal house attendance record … after all you do have responsibilities as a representative of the people!”

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