Democrats gain seats in Vermont House, Senate

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(Host) While Republicans were in the limelight in the governor and lieutenant governor elections, it was a night of Democratic gains in the Vermont House and Senate.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports:

(Zind) The real drama was expected to be in the contests for Vermont Senate. Republicans felt they had a chance to gain control of the Senate. Democrats hoped to maintain their slim majority. The results surprised most observers, as Democrats strengthened their hold on the Senate.

In one key race, Democratic incumbent Susan Bartlett of Lamoille County turned back a challenge from former Republican Representative Cathy Voyer. Incumbent Republican Thomas Bahre fell in Addison County. Democrats held on to five seats in Chittenden County and three in Windsor County. In Orange County, Democrat Mark McDonald reclaimed the Senate seat he lost two years ago.

Democrats appeared to win nineteen of the Senate’s thirty seats.

Many of the evening’s biggest surprises came in the House races. Republicans started the evening in firm control of the House. But at least ten GOP incumbents were defeated. Democratic House Minority Leader John Tracy says he isn’t surprised that his party was able to rebound after losing control of the House in the last election:

(Tracy) “We started this two years ago, the day after the last election, when we lost the majority. We set our minds to working the day after that election to make sure we recruited good candidates.”

(Zind) With control of the House uncertain, there’s a chance Tracy could become the next Speaker.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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