"We ran Martha with the intention that she would step down," said Chris Pearson of the Vermont Progressive Party.
Progressive Party Chair Martha Abbott would win the gubernatorial primary election and then step down. That way the party could rally behind Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
"We were not putting a lot of energy into making sure Martha prevailed, which is maybe why this problem arose," Pearson said.
The problem? Write-in candidate Annette Smith.
"If I'm in this, I am going to run to win. I am not in this to just be a seat warmer," Smith said.
The initial count of primary ballots shows Smith lost by just one vote. She says the Progressive Party needs to stand up as a voice against Shumlin in this election.
"Governor Shumlin has failed to engage with the public on issues that people disagree with him on," Smith said.
"I don't think the party will support either of them in an official capacity," Pearson said.
So why run when polls indicate their best shot is third place? Pearson says Abbott's run is a defensive tactic. The plan wasn't to win; it was to prevent other Progressives like Smith from running in the first place. Smith's write-in campaign was meant to send a message.
"This write-in effort really goes to the core of what people are feeling these days in terms of a real loss of freedom," Smith said.
Pearson says while she may have foiled the party's plan, he admires her spunk.
"While Annette Smith and that strategy was not one the party decided on, it's definitely in keeping with our spirit and why we exist," Pearson said.
The race gets election season off to a strange start as the closest competition so far is to be the last name put on the November ballot.
The Washington County clerk expects to have results by Friday or Monday. Martha Abbott refuses to speak to the media until the results are in.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:45 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:45:20 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:10:53 GMT
A fatal accident in Lyndon Saturday. It happened around 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Route 122. Police say 76-year-old Gerda Blaszczyk of St. Johnsbury swerved to avoid an animal. Her car travelled up anMore >>
Police say the driver swerved to avoid an animal.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
It's graduation day for the class of 20-13 at Castleton State College. And just for the occasion, the college invited back an alumnus with a strong connection to the school.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
Making sure our furry friends have a place to call home.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>