Brisk turnout for cold, rainy midterm contests

By Cynthia Prairie
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Tuesday’s General Election had three strikes against it:

  • Most Vermont races – from U.S. Congress to the governor’s mansion and the State House – were pretty much foregone conclusions even before Tuesday and wouldn’t make a huge impact on the national scene;
  • Mid-terms are usually ho-hum affairs that don’t bring out voters; and
  • It was a chilly and rainy day.

Voting booths were full for much of the day Photo by Shawn Cunningham

All pointed to a naturally occurring voter suppression. Even so, turnout was brisk throughout The Telegraph coverage area, likely due to the enthusiasm stirred by national interest in gubernatorial and U.S. House races. The question was: Would the Democrats be able to wrest control of governor’s mansions and the U.S. House in this era of Republican President Donald Trump.

Here are the unofficial results from our state Senate, House and gubernatorial races.

In Windsor, which encompasses 26 towns between Windsor and Norwich in the north, south to Londonderry, Weston, Andover, Chester, Cavendish and Springfield, the three Democratic incumbent Sens. Dick McCormack, Alice Nitka and Alison Clarkson won re-election easily.

Clarkson, McCormack and Nitka were re-elected to the senate. Campaign photo

Of 80,479 votes cast districtwide, Clarkson finished first with 15,073, with Nitka coming in second with 14,263, and McCormack with 13,578 votes. Republican challengers Randy Gray (7,179), Jack Williams (6,879) and Wayne Townsend (6,386) followed. More than 14,982 possible votes remained uncast.

Local totals for the winners were:

Andover: Clarkson 129 ; McCormack 112; Nitka 161. Republican Randy Gray came in third in Andover with 116 votes.

Cavendish: Clarkson 236; McCormack 215. Nitka 321. Republican Gray came in third with 216 votes.

Chester: Clarkson 601; McCormack 505. Nitka 695.

Londonderry: Clarkson 401; McCormack 314; Nitka 314.

Weston: Clarkson 192; McCormack 166; Nitka 222.

Rep. Tom Bock

In the state House races, with no opposition, Windsor 3-1 Democratic incumbent Tom Bock easily won re-election within the four towns of Andover, Baltimore, Chester and Springfield that he represents. He won with 1,351 votes out of 1,780 votes cast. There were 54 write-ins and 375 blanks.

Incumbent Independent Rep. Kelly Pajala, who was appointed to fill the position following Oliver Olsen’s resignation, won her first election easily to continuing representing the Windham-Bennington-Windsor district of Jamaica, Londonderry, Stratton, Weston and Windhall. Of a total 2,151 votes cast, the vast majority – 1,852 – went to Pajala.

Rep. Kelly Pajala

In the governor’s race, with a fairly popular Republican incumbent in Phil Scott, votes within the Londonderry to Grafton envelope pretty much reflected the rest of the state. Scott won locally by anywhere from 17 percentage points to more than 20.

Democrat Christine Hallquist had visited the area during the campaign. Scott had not.

In Londonderry, Democratic challenger Christine Hallquist saw the smallest margin of defeat, losing to Scott with 311 votes to 545, or slightly more than 17 points.

Turnout in Londonderry was good, with 822 people voting.

In Andover, with 306 people voting, Scott beat Hallquist by a much higher margin, 190 to 89, or 62 percent to 29 percent.

In Weston, with 363 votes cast, Scott, with 200 votes, beat Hallquist with 141, or 55 percent to 39 percent.

With 1,257 people voting in Chester, more than 250 of them by absentee ballot, Scott beat Hallquist 708 votes to 441, or with more than 66 percent of the vote to 35 percent.

In Cavendish, with 582 people voting, Scott again won handily with 319 votes (55 percent) to Hallquists 172 (almost 30 percent).

Windham, with 211 votes cast, helped spur Scott to victory, 121 to Hallquists 77. That’s 57 percent to 36 percent.

And in Grafton, with 312 people turning out to vote, saw 176 (almost 57 percent) cast their ballots for Scott and 121 (almost 39 percent) throw theirs behind Hallquist.

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Filed Under: AndoverCavendishChesterFeaturedGraftonLatest NewsLondonderryWeston

About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 30 years. She has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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