Primary Preview: Meet the candidates for Vt. governor

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont’s primary elections are just under a month away and one Democrat and three Republicans are vying in separate primaries to go on to the fall election.

Newfane activist Brenda Siegel is the presumptive Democratic nominee for the general election. On the GOP ticket, landscaping contractor Stephen Bellows and former Underhill Selectman Peter Duval are facing off against incumbent Governor Phil Scott.

The 2022 primary election for governor has been a quiet affair so far, both in terms of debates, candidate forums, and in fundraising and spending.

Incumbent Republican Governor Phil Scott is seeking a fourth term in office.

“I think anyone who knows me knows I’m steady at the helm, so to speak. What you see is what you get,” Scott said.

The former construction company owner turned state senator and lt. governor became the 82nd governor of Vermont in 2017. He says he wants to follow through on historic investments in infrastructure, housing, and broadband and that a vote for him is a vote for the team that brought Vermont through the pandemic. “You not only get common sense leadership but you get the entire team behind me, and I think that’s as important as me,” he said.

Scott says he has no plans to debate his GOP challengers, Steven Bellows and Peter Duval.

On the Democratic side, Brenda Siegel does not have any challengers and looks forward to taking on Scott in November. “What Vermonters want is to see one another thrive, to see all of us be able to succeed here,” she said.

The Newfane resident says she’s running to advocate on behalf of Vermonters left out of the political dialogue, including those facing homelessness, substance use disorder, and poverty. “The people in Vermont are struggling and they need us to do more. Like I have said, good enough is not enough right now. We have to do better,” Siegel said.

It’s been a quiet summer for the governor’s race compared to the race for Congress or even lieutenant governor. Both Scott and Siegel raised around $40,000 last cycle. At this point in 2020, both Scott and then Lt. Governor David Zuckerman had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. A competitive race usually costs about $900,000.

The governor says he won’t begin campaigning until after Labor Day. He just hired campaign staff this past weekend. Political observers say when races are perceived as being competitive, lots of candidates jump into the fray. “The fact that we don’t see a lot of candidates in the governor’s race is a signal that people don’t see it as being competitive,” said Middlebury College political science professor Bert Johnson.

The primary is on August 9 and tens of thousands of early and absentee ballots are in the hands of voters already.

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