Do near identical outcomes in Vermont political races show level of partisan divide?

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:04 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Democrats claimed victory in seven of eight statewide races in Vermont, and four of those races had almost identical outcomes. One expert we talked with says those results illustrate where the partisan divide is drawn in Vermont.

Charity Clark took to the stage at the Democratic Party celebration Tuesday night in Burlington, becoming Vermont’s first-ever woman to be elected attorney general. Clark got about two-thirds of the vote in defeating Republican Michael Tagliavia.

It was a similar story for new state treasurer Mike Pieciak.

In fact, it was a similar story in the races for secretary of state and auditor.

Let’s look more closely at the outcome of all four races. According to unofficial results from The Associated Press, Clark beat Tagliavia 65% to 35% or about 178,000 votes to 95,000.

Those numbers are almost identical in the secretary of state’s race, where Democrat Sarah Copeland Hanzas beat Republican H. Brooke Paige, with Paige getting 95,000 votes.

Paige was also on the ballot against Pieciak in the treasurer’s race, again getting 95,000.

And in the auditor’s race, only a slight variation in the numbers as Democrat Doug Hoffer defeated Republican Richard Morton, 178,000 votes to 94,000 votes.

Middlebury College Political Science Professor Bert Johnson talked about what that says about the Republican Party in Vermont.

“The good news for Republicans is that the placeholder Republican in a statewide race for state office is getting about a third of the vote. So there’s a decent floor for Republicans. Now the bad news for the statewide Republicans whose names are not Phil Scott, is perhaps the ceiling is about where Joe Benning did, which is between 40% and 41%. So on the one hand, there’s a solid base of support for Republicans, on the other hand, it’s going to have a hard time expanding beyond that,” Johnson said.

As Johnson mentioned, Phil Scott is the outlier getting 71% of the vote on Tuesday, pulling not only from the Republican base but across the political spectrum.