Brock defeats Salmon for State Auditor

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(Host) State auditor Randy Brock has narrowly won re-election.

Brock’s race was undecided until this afternoon when Democratic challenger Tom Salmon conceded and decided not to ask for a re-count.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Brock, a one-term incumbent, won by 834 votes, according to unofficial returns. That’s a margin of just four tenths of one percent.

In Vermont, statewide candidates can ask for a re-count if the difference is under 5 percent. But Democratic candidate Tom Salmon said he would not challenge the results.

(Salmon) “I feel it was a clean, professional race. And for the good of Vermont, we need to move on, and so I decided just to take the high road, congratulate him. And he appreciated that.”

(Dillon) Brock ran on his record of his two years in office. He’s conducted detailed reviews of Homeland Security spending, and uncovered financial mismanagement in the Windham County Sheriff’s office.

Salmon is a certified public account, who said the auditor’s office should be run by someone with a CPA degree. He also wanted the state auditor to help Vermont cities and towns with financial issues.

Progressive Party Candidate Martha Abbot focused on Brock. She charged that the incumbent didn’t spend enough time at work.

Brock said his own low-profile and Salmon’s name recognition – his father was governor in the 1970s – made the race so close.

(Brock) “We knew that he would run a strong campaign, and would be a strong challenger based on both the kind of year we expected it to be, the fact he was the son of a former governor, which clearly had name recognition which is very very important in a down ballot race.”

(Dillon) Salmon said his last name only helped so much. He said he was hurt by a three-way race that included a strong Progressive Party candidate.

(Salmon) “I figured Martha Abbot would take 7 or 10 percent. I figured he and I would be neck and neck in the straight away. I didn’t count myself out because as I got around the state, I had people who couldn’t even pronounce my name right, but they said you’re the only CPA running, right? I’m voting for you.”

(Dillon) About 250,000 people voted in the auditor’s race. Brock pointed out that’s about
10,000 less than voted for governor.

(Brock) “It was a very tight race. But we tell people to go out to the polls and vote, because every single vote is important. And what this illustrates is that every single vote is important.”

(Dillon) Progressive Martha Abbott ended up with 9.4% of the vote, based on unofficial returns.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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