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Gray declares victory in Vermont lieutenant governor race

Published: Nov. 3, 2020 at 11:50 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 4, 2020 at 12:28 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Democrat Molly Gray has declared victory in the race for Vermont lieutenant governor after receiving a call from Republican Scott Milne.

She is just the fourth woman in Vermont’s history to become lieutenant governor. Gray said the campaign has been the honor of her life.

In what was considered the most closely contested races for statewide office this election season, Gray beat out Milne for the open seat vacated by Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman.

Gray, a Vermont assistant attorney general, had the strong backing from Democratic heavyweights in Vermont. She focused her campaigning on fixing the state’s demographic challenges by attracting young people, increasing access to broadband, expanding child care and investing in the state college system.

Gray grew up on a farm in Newbury, Vermont, and graduated from the University of Vermont. She helped to elect Congressman Peter Welch before moving to Washington, D.C., as his congressional aide. Gray spent three years working across the globe for the Red Cross and returning home to attend Vermont Law School.

Republican Scott Milne a Pomfret businessman, closely tied his campaign with fellow Republican Phil Scott. He focused on rebuilding the state’s economy following the pandemic, saying his business background is what Vermont needed. Milne lost two previous runs for public office -- in 2016 against Sen. Patrick Leahy and in 2014 against Gov. Peter Shumlin. Milne grew his family’s travel agency from a small business to a company with nine locations throughout New England and New York.

Milne released a statement regarding Gray’s victory early Wednesday morning. It says, “I am honored by the tens of thousands of Vermonters who supported my candidacy. I send my sincere congratulations to Molly Gray on her victory this evening. I wish her success moving forward.”

While the new job doesn’t come with any real legislative power, it has paved the path to a future race for governor. A number of Vermont politicians, including current Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, Gov. Phil Scott, Brian Dubie, Doug Racine, Howard Dean and Madeleine Kunin have held the state’s number two job.

Vermont also has a history of splitting the ticket between the governor and lieutenant governor. It’s happened most recently between right now and 2011. A Republican and Democrat have shared the top two jobs seven different times in the last 57 years. There have been seven different instances of this since 1963, which was when Democratic Gov. Phil Hoff was elected with Republican Lt. Gov. Larry Foote. The last time two candidates of the same party were governor and lieutenant governor was from 2003 to 2011, when Republican Gov. Jim Douglas and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie were in office.

The women who previously served as lieutenant governor in Vermont are Consuelo Bailey, Madeleine Kunin and Barbara Snelling.

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