Vermont Sets Up General Election

By John Celock

A former state transportation secretary will take on the state’s lieutenant governor in Vermont’s November election for governor.

Tuesday’s primary results showed Sue Minter, a former transportation secretary easily capturing the Democratic nomination, while Lt. Gov. Phil Scott easily won the Republican nomination. Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) is not seeking a fourth two-year term as the state’s chief executive.

Minter, who headed the transportation agency in Shumlin’s cabinet, captured 49 percent of the vote in a three-way Democratic race in her bid to become Vermont’s second female governor. Former state Sen. Matt Dunne was second with 36 percent and former ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith with nine percent. Scott, a three term lieutenant governor, captured 60 percent in the GOP primary compared to 40 percent for businessman Bruce Lisman.

While Vermont has been a solid blue state on the national scene, the state has flipped control of the Statehouse between Democrats and Republicans consistently since the 1960s. Shumlin was elected in 2010 to succeed former Gov. Jim Douglas (R), who in turn succeeded former Gov. Howard Dean (D) in 2003. Republicans are trying to paint Minter as a fourth term for the unpopular Shumlin, while Democrats are playing to the liberal leaning voters in the state. Democrats currently control the state’s five constitutional officer positions and both houses of the state Legislature.

Minter would be only the second woman to win Vermont’s governorship, following former Gov. Madeleine Kunin (D), who was elected to three terms in the 1980s. Kunin has long advocated for women in Vermont politics, including for the election of another women to the governorship.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Democrat state Sen. David Zuckerman will face Republican Randy Brock, a former state auditor. Zuckerman defeated state House Speaker Shap Smith in the Democratic primary by a margin of 42 percent to 36 percent with 16 percent for state Rep. Kesha Ram.