MacDonald wins reelection to Vermont Senate

  • Mark MacDonald (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Jennifer Hauck

Published: 11/9/2022 12:27:37 PM
Modified: 11/9/2022 12:27:10 PM

Longtime incumbent Mark MacDonald has retained his seat in the Vermont Senate.

MacDonald, a Williamstown Democrat, received 5,683 votes in the Orange senate district to defeat Republican John Klar, of Brookfield, who received 4,516 votes, according to unofficial results posted by the Vermont Secretary of State.

MacDonald, 79, who has served in the Legislature almost continuously since the mid-1980s, is recovering from a stroke he suffered in early October.

Klar, 59, had challenged Gov. Phil Scott from the right in the Republican primary two years ago, finishing a distant second. His Orange district campaign relied in part on an appeal to cultural issues that seldom play well in Vermont politics.

MacDonald “just aligns more with what I believe in,” voter Paula Townsend said outside the polls in Bradford on Tuesday. She and her wife, Kristen Townsend, recent transplants from Washington State, said they’d been talking with relatives in the area about the candidates.

“It felt really divided,” Paula Townsend said of the campaign.

Backed by conservative donors, Klar raised about $32,000 for his campaign, far more than MacDonald’s roughly $6,500. The 13-town Senate district was festooned with Klar signs.

“It’s somehow very billboardy,” Abby Copeland, of Bradford, said. Copeland’s sister, longtime Democratic state Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, was elected Secretary of State on Tuesday.

The Orange district was thought to be more competitive this year, after redistricting. Thetford, a town that reliably votes Democratic, was put into the Windsor district, and Topsham, a more reliably Republican town, was put into the Orange district.

But MacDonald notched a substantial win in Randolph, 1,347 to 821, and also won in Bradford, another town new to the district, 682 to 480.

Turnout was high for a mid term election, with high-profile races for U.S. Senate and House at the top of the ballot.

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