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Windsor Democrats Keep Senate Seats

Partial Results Show Campbell, McCormack And Nitka With Lead

Dan Hillard, of Wilder, left, speaks with Vermont Senate candidate Dick Tracy at the polls in Hartford yesterday. At right are Sen. Dick McCormack and Alex DeFelice, Republican candidate for Vermont House of Representatives. 
Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

Dan Hillard, of Wilder, left, speaks with Vermont Senate candidate Dick Tracy at the polls in Hartford yesterday. At right are Sen. Dick McCormack and Alex DeFelice, Republican candidate for Vermont House of Representatives. Valley News — Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

— Democrats appear to have retained their hold on the three Windsor County Senate seats.

Incumbents John Campbell of Quechee, Dick McCormack of Bethel and Alice Nitka of Ludlow, held a solid lead over their Republican challengers, Dick Tracy of Sharon, Jeff Whittemore of Weathersfield and Paul Gibbs Jr. of Springfield, with partial results last night.

Campbell, the Senate president pro tempore, said he was honored that Windsor County voters had chosen to send him back to Montpelier, where he hoped to address the state’s budget shortfall without raising any broad-based tax. He also hoped to focus on what he called the “critical issue” of prescription drug abuse in the region.

“I would say 95 percent of the burglaries or robberies in Windsor County are related to people who are addicted to Oxycodon or Oxycontin,” Campbell said yesterday.

Simply putting those people in jail would not solve the problems, he said. The state must find other ways of helping people overcome their addictions, either through rehabilitation programs or other means.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

With 14 of 28 precincts reporting, Campbell was the top vote getter overall with 11,937, followed by Nitka with 10,713 and McCormack close behind with 10,904. Tracy led Republicans with 6,671 votes, followed by Whittemore (5,265) and Gibbs (4,895).

In addition to the budget and prescription drug abuse issues, Campbell said health reform would be an obvious focal point next year as Vermont moves toward a single-payer system.

Tracy said he’d learned a lot in this, his first campaign, and vowed to run again in two years.

“Life goes on,” Tracy said last night. “We put our good foot forward and established ourselves and, in two years, we’ll do better.”

The incumbents in the Caledonia Senate race also were leading their challengers last night. With 17 of 23 precincts reporting, Democrat state Sen. Jane Kitchel of Danville and Republican Sen. Joe Benning were the top vote getters in a four-way race for two spots.

Kitchel had 6,019 votes and Benning garnered 4,821, leading challengers David Dill, R-Lyndon, and Stephen Amos, D-Wheelock. Dill had 3,399 votes and Wheelock was close behind him with 3,281.

The Caledonia Senate district includes 17 towns in Caledonia County and six from Orange County, including the Upper Valley towns of Bradford, Fairlee, Newbury, Orange, Topsham and West Fairlee.

State Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Williamstown, was running unopposed for the Orange Senate seat.