Dubie wins plurality in lieutenant governor’s race

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(Host) Republican Brian Dubie will be Vermont’s next lieutenant governor. Dubie, who ran unsuccessfully two years ago, won with 41% of the vote. Democrat Peter Shumlin had 32%, while Progressive Anthony Pollina took 25%. Shumlin conceded the race shortly after midnight.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Brian Dubie is an airline pilot who focused on a single theme throughout his campaign: jobs and the economy. Dubie told Republican supporters that it’s time for the state to move forward after a divisive election:

(Dubie) “And the team is going to grow from this evening. It’s going to grow and we’re going to unite as teams of Vermonters confronting the problems that we face. And we’re going to trust one another, and we’re going to have disagreements, and we’re going to communicate respectfully about those disagreements. And that’s what it’s going to take, and that’s what I would pledge as lieutenant governor to help moderate and build bridges to address the problems that are confronting our state.” Sound of applause from supporters.)

(Dillon) Democrat Peter Shumlin was behind most of the night, but he held onto the hope that towns around his home base in southern Vermont would give him the needed edge. But the margin stayed wide and early Wednesday morning, Shumlin called Dubie and conceded.

A Windham County state senator, Shumlin was making his first run for statewide office. In his concession speech, he promised Democrats he’ll continue to work on issues such as health care reform. He also hinted he wasn’t done with politics:

(Shumlin) “So, I thank you. I thank Brian. I thank Anthony for running a good, clean race. Now somebody asked me in the hall, ‘Well, what about you Shumlin? Are you going to be all right?’ Let me give you the answer. You never met a loser who’s been more all right in your life.” (Sound of applause from supporters.)

(Dillon) Progressive Pollina was in third place for much of the evening and finished at around 25%. Democrats grumbled that Pollina had split off many liberals who would have voted for Shumlin. But Pollina shrugged off the spoiler label:

(Pollina) “Well, it’s the voters who vote. I don’t take votes from anybody, I ask Vermonters for their votes. So as we said earlier this evening, the spoiler is banished from Vermont politics. We’re a three-party state and uh, it’s just the way it’s going to be. And people will have to start making those choices.”

(Dillon) Despite the concession from Shumlin, it appears that the Vermont Legislature will cast the final ballot in the race for lieutenant governor, since Republican Brian Dubie will not win more than 50% of the vote. Shumlin said throughout the campaign – and he repeated again Tuesday night – that the Legislature should vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote.

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

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