Vt. GOP looks ahead after tough election losses - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. GOP looks ahead after tough election losses

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

From the second the first Democrat took the state, the contrast was clear-- it was going to be a long night for Republicans. It started at 7 p.m. when the Associated Press called the U.S. Senate race in Vermont, then Congress, then governor.

"I suspect they are shocked, they expected better. But there's a Democratic tide in Vermont and they fell victim to it," said Chris Graff, a political analyst.

Graff is correct-- Republicans are shaken by the outcome. Party lines are divided across the nation and they're lopsided here in Vermont with only one Republican statewide winner.

"Sometimes you get kicked in the shins and have to pick yourself off the floor and get ready to go again," said Jack Lindley, chair of the Vermont Republican Party.

The bright spot for Republicans is the win for incumbent Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott-- a moderate-- who beat political newcomer Cassandra Gekas.

"It's a bittersweet moment watching some of the other races legislative and statewide that worked so hard but weren't successful," said Scott, R-Vermont.

Another blow for Republicans was losing the auditor's office. Thirty-two year Montpelier veteran Vince Illuzzi could not overcome the pull of the left, losing to Progressive Democrat Doug Hoffer.

"It's a real low point for Republicans," Graff said. "They didn't have money, staff, ground game. They did not do well this year, but you can't count them down and out."

Republicans say they now understand the full extent of the Democrats' abilities and will be prepared for the next race.

"I thought we could rebuild Rome in eight months, but it's going to take longer than that," Lindley said.

Democrats maintained a firm grip on control of the Vermont Legislature. Based on results tabulated so far, the Democrats could slightly increase their supermajorities in both the House and Senate. Republicans only contested half the House seats.

Reporter Gina Bullard: Do you think this is a step in the demise of the Republican Party here?

Jack Lindley: Oh now we have nowhere to go but up. It's not a demise, we have nine new members in the Republican caucus.

A night that Republicans say Vermonters will have to live with the consequences of. Lindley says those consequences will be substantial tax hikes, including more broad-based taxes. Lindley says it's the price Vermonters will have to pay for being so blue.

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