Scott and Zuckerman say future of Vermont now in voters’ hands
MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s the final push for candidates vying for your vote seeking Vermont’s top job. Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman are going head to head trying to show Vermont at the 11th hour that they’re the one for the position. Our Calvin Cutler takes a look at what these last few hours look like for them.
The cold weather mixed with restrictions on gatherings means the traditional get out the vote effort has been shelved. Zuckerman is out and about making his campaign known, while Scott is still avoiding actively campaigning.
A tractor parade led by Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman with some of his closest supporters in tow made its way to the Hinesburg town clerk’s office to officially drop off his ballot.
Zuckerman says despite the pandemic-- and more than 250,000 people casting their ballots before the polls even open-- he’s focused on getting his message out.
“Still working the phones, reaching people, calling people. We’ve got ads on TV and radio. Doing honk-and-waves and we’re just getting around as best as we can,” Zuckerman said.
The latest polls last month showed Governor Scott well ahead of his Democratic challenger.
Throughout the pandemic, the governor has enjoyed the power of incumbency, overseeing arguably one of the most effective COVID-19 responses in the country.
“We’ve done all we can during these unusual times,” Scott said last week, reflecting on his reelection campaign for a third term in office.
Scott has placed active campaigning on the back burner while he manages Vermont’s response to the pandemic.
“Secondary to that has been making sure I am doing my other job which is making sure leading the state in terms of government and the wheels of government continue to turn,” Scott said.
However, his twice-weekly press briefings keep him in the spotlight, frequently fielding questions about politics and policy not just the coronavirus.
And this week, both candidates are spending their way to the finish line. The latest campaign finance data shows Zuckerman spent more than $86,000 last month while Scott shelled out just over $32,000.
But as the clock is ticking before the polls close Tuesday night, both Scott and Zuckerman say the future of Vermont is now in the hands of the voters.
“We’re going to have to work together to rebuild the economy, tackle the climate crisis, get people better wages, move in on getting a better health care system for everyone. Folks are putting that message out and that’s bringing people my way,” Zuckerman said.
Tuesday, Governor Scott will still hold his regularly scheduled press briefing. But unlike we saw on Primary Day this past summer, the governor won’t be attending, instead, letting Commissioners Mark Levine and Michael Pieciak take the reins.
In addition to all of the statewide races, there are 180 seats up for grabs in the Legislature.
Right now, lawmakers have a Democratic supermajority in Montpelier that right now is able to override vetoes.
We most likely won’t see Republicans take control of either chamber but they could boost their numbers to chip away at the supermajority.
Right now, there are some 95 Democrats, seven Progressives and a few independents.
If Zuckerman is able to upset Scott and Democrats hold onto their numbers, it could be a boon for their policies.
If Scott wins reelection, it could mean more clashes with Democrats under the golden dome.
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