VPR’s election night live broadcasts are hosted by VPR’s Steve Delaney and political analyst Hamilton Davis in Colchester. They’re joined by reporters Bob Kinzel and Steve Zind in Montpelier; reporters John Dillon and Nina Keck in Burlington; reporter Betty Smith in Norwich; reporter Susan Keese in Brattleboro.
11:50 p.m. Legislature, top state offices undecided
At the conclusion of VPR’s election night broadcast, the state’s top races are still undecided and the make-up of the Legislature is also unknown. VPR’s Bob Kinzel speculates that shifts in legislative seats may indicate that Vermonters are seeking balance in the two elected branches of state government, splitting their votes between Democratic legislative candidates and Republican governor and lieutenant governor candidates. Political analyst Hamilton Davis suggests that the energy that infused the Vermont Republican Party during the civil union debate two years ago has now dissipated and the Legislature is reverting to its pre-civil union Democratic status.
11:20 p.m. Legislative trends and Pollina’s returns
VPR’s Steve Zind talks with Progressive lieutenant governor candidate Anthony Pollina as Pollina’s chances fade in the race. Pollina says that as of this election, Vermont is a three-party state. In order for Progressive candidates to be elected to top state offices, Pollina says more people need to be willing to “move outside the box.” Pollina deflects questions about spoiling the race between Republican and Democratic candidates, saying he didn’t “steal” another candidates votes but that the Democratic candidate failed to mobilize his base support.
At Republican Party headquarters, VPR’s Bob Kinzel talks with Ross Sneyd of the Associated Press. Sneyd says the trend in Legislative races is a “mess.” Based on current numbers, the House may be divided among Democrats, Republicans; Democrats may retain the Senate. Sneyd says if Republicans win top positions in the state, the mixed Legislature will force moderation and negotiation in getting any bill through the General Assembly.
11:00 p.m. Some statewide races decided
Democrats have been declared winners in three statewide races: Elizabeth Ready remains in the state Auditor’s office; Deb Markowitz is reelected as secretary of state; and Jeb Spaulding will fill the treasurer’s office, vacated by Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Douglas.
10:50 p.m. Shumlin pinning hopes on southern Vermont
In the lieutenant governor’s race, optimism is starting to wane for Democrat Peter Shumlin. With 60% of the vote in, Shumlin is falling behind with 32% of the vote, against Republican Brian Dubie’s 42% and Progressive Anthony Pollina’s 25%. Shumlin says that uncounted votes in traditionally Democratic regions may boost his returns. Shumlin says that the votes in small towns add up.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel talks with Caledonia Senator Rob Ide about the status of legislative races. In the available House returns, Republican incumbents have a lost a net 5 seats so far. Per usual, Senate returns are slower in coming. Ide says the energetic race in Lamoille County is extremely close but may be leaning toward incumbent Democrat Susan Bartlett; the votes of Bartlett’s home town of Hyde Park may decide that race.
10:20 p.m. Dean comments on Democratic returns
VPR’s John Dillon talks with Governor Howard at Democratic Party campaign headquarters. Dean says he expected that Democrats would pick up House seats and win the second-tier state offices, but Dean says he is very surprised that Racine and Shumlin aren’t showing higher numbers. Dean attributes part of the returns to the order in which towns are tabulating results; he says St. Johnsbury’s results came in early, Burlington’s came in late. Dean says Dubie’s lead in the lieutenant governor’s race is surprising. Dean says the governor’s race is still tight but that Democrat Peter Shumlin has a tough time time ahead in the lieutenant governor’s race.
At the Rutland Herald, Managing Editor Steven Bauman shares results from local Rutland races: Democrat Cheryl Hooker has lost her bid in a new Rutland House district against Republican Tom DePoy. The two incumbent representatives were forced to run against each other as a result of redistricting. Bauman says results are unknown in Rutland’s contested state’s attorney race.
9:50 p.m. Lt. gov candidates say too early to tell
VPR’s Bob Kinzel talks with Brian Dubie, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Dubie appers in positive spirits but says it’s too early to tell what will happen in the tight three-way race. Dubies says his campaign team is taking a pause to enjoy the evening. Compared to his last run for lieutenant governor two years ago, Dubie says this campaign was a staffed by a team of people who are working harder and longer at winning the race.
Also in Montpelier is Progressive lieutenant governor canidate Anthony Pollina. VPR’s Steve Zind talks with Pollina’s campaign manager Chris Pearson. Pearson says that he would like to see returns coming in stronger for Pollina, but that it’s still early in the evening. Pearson says he is proud of Pollina’s run, saying the candidate conveyed a clear message of respect for the voters. Pearson says Pollina provided an alternative to the two more established parties in the state, and that Pollina’s run for lieutenant governor is an important step for the Vermont Progressive Party.
9:20 p.m. Sanders declares victory
Incumbent Congressman Bernie Sanders has declared victory in the race for U.S. House. Republican candidate Bill Meub has called Sanders to concede the race. With 15% of votes recorded, Sanders has 61% support against Meub’s 17%. VPR’s Nina Keck is at Sanders’ campaign party at Sweetwater’s Restaurant in Burlington. Sanders thanked his campaign staff and told Vermonters that he will work hard for their interests in Washington. Meub says he called Sanders to offer congratulations but a campaign staffer didn’t forward his call to Sanders.
VPR’s Betty Smith has been talking to town clerks across southwestern Vermont. Town clerks have reported higher-than-expected voter turnout, particularly since this is a mid-term election.
8:50 p.m. Republicans lose some House seats
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports from Republican Party headquarters at the Capitol Plaza hotel in Montpelier. Early returns show that Republican House candidates have lost six races, while voters in the same disctricts supported Republican Jim Douglas for governor. Among the districts lost by GOP candidates: Ira Pike of Mendon loses Rutland-Windsor; Michael Quaid of Williston loses Chittenden 2; Allen Palmer of Pownal loses Bennington 1; John Follet of Springfield loses Windsor 1-2; Fred Maslack of Poultney loses Rutland 1-1; and Matthew Stevens of Essex loses Chittenden 6-2.
Candidate Douglas says of the House losses that Vermonters are voting for change as his campaign predicted, and that change extends to incumbent members of the Vermont House. Douglas says in his own race for governor that Independent Con Hogan has likely detracted more votes away from Douglas than from his Democratic opponent Doug Racine. Douglas says some parts of the state are strongly democratic, some regions are strongly republican and he is relying on the “swing” regions to win the race for governor.
8:20 p.m. Democrats are upbeat
VPR’s John Dillon reports from Democratic campaign headquarters at the Sheraton hotel in Burlington. State Democratic Party Chair Skudder Parker recited preliminary vote totals in the governor’s race. According to Parker, 49% support for Racine, 39% for Douglas and 11% for Hogan. With only 11% of votes in, the race is far from over. Parker says the Republicans’ central theme of advocating for change is ineffectual because the Democrats have had a remarkable record of accomplishments that have benefited Vermonters.