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Buxton Wins By Three Votes in Royalton, Tunbridge

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/9/2016 2:13:57 AM
Modified: 11/14/2016 2:03:01 PM

Hartford — Although several incumbents on Tuesday locked up Vermont House seats across the Upper Valley, many races were too close to call late in the evening.

In the contest for two seats representing part of Hartford, Democratic state Reps. Gabrielle Lucke and Kevin “Coach” Christie defeated their Republican challengers, military retiree Kevin Stuart and telecommunications executive Charlie Davenport, by significant margins. Lucke received 2,137 votes and Christie 2,408 in the Windsor 4-2 district; Davenport earned 920 and Stuart 978.

In nearby Windsor 4-1, which represents Barnard, Pomfret, West Hartford and much of Quechee, attorney Sue Buckholz was unopposed in the race to fill the district’s lone seat. Buckholz, a Democrat from Quechee, will replace state Rep. Teo Zagar, D-Barnard, who did not seek re-election.

White River Valley

State Rep. Sarah Buxton, D-Tunbridge, appears to have held onto her seat by 3 votes over Royalton Republican David Ainsworth.

Buxton won the two-town Windsor-Orange 1 district with 1,003 votes, to 1,000 for Ainsworth.

Buxton defeated Ainsworth, then a state representative, by one vote in 2010. Buxton ran stronger in Tunbridge, Ainsworth in Royalton.

This is the fourth time they have run against each other.

Despite their many races, the candidates did not run a cordial campaign this cycle.

Instead, Ainsworth put out road signs accusing Buxton of intending to raise taxes, while the incumbent fired back with Facebook ads and digs at Ainsworth’s record as a state representative in the late 2000s.

In the Windsor-Rutland district, a seat covering Bethel, Pittsfield, Rochester and Stockbridge, state Rep. Sandy Haas, a Progressive from Rochester who also is on the Democratic ballot, was leading Turtle Party candidate Mason “Cloud” Wade, also of Rochester.

With 3 of 4 towns reporting, Haas had 72 percent to 28 percent for Wade.

Haas, a retired attorney who runs a bed-and-breakfast, has served in the Vermont House since 2005.

Tim Briglin and Jim Masland, two Democrats from Thetford, ran unopposed for the two seats in Windsor-Orange 2, which comprises Norwich, Sharon, Strafford and Thetford, after winning a contested primary.

Windsor Area

In the two-seat Windsor-1 district, state Rep. John Bartholomew, D-Hartland, and Paul Belaski, a Democrat from Windsor, appeared headed to victory over Clayton Paronto, a Windsor independent and Rick Hansen, a Republican from Brownsville.

Bartholomew has held the seat representing Windsor, West Windsor and Hartland since 2011; the other incumbent, Democratic state Rep. Donna Sweaney, did not seek re-election.

With all three towns reporting, Bartholomew had 2,394 votes, Belaski, 2,124, Paronto, 1,212, and Hansen, 1,175.

In Windsor-2, which covers Weathersfield and Cavendish, Annmarie Christensen, a Democrat from Perkinsville who previously served as news editor of the Valley News, defeated Stuart Lindberg, a Cavendish Republican, according to unofficial results.

Christensen won 831 votes in Weathersfield to 686 for Lindberg, enough to hold off his margin in Cavendish. He won his hometown 361-299, according to Christensen.

The incumbent, Cavendish Democrat Mark Huntley, is stepping down after two terms.

Woodstock Area

In the seat representing the Windsor-5 district, including Plymouth, Reading and Woodstock, Keith Thomas Cappellini, a Plymouth Republican, was challenging Charlie Kimbell, a Democrat from Woodstock.

With one of three towns reporting, Kimbell had 64 percent to 36 percent for Cappellini.

The incumbent, state Rep. Alison Clarkson, D-Woodstock, had held the seat since 2005 but this cycle ran instead for Vermont Senate.

In Rutland-Windsor 1, which includes the Upper Valley town of Bridgewater, state Rep. Job Tate, a Republican from Mendon, was unopposed.

Orange House Seats

Four candidates were running for two seats representing the Chelsea area in the Orange-1 district, which serves Chelsea, Corinth, Orange, Vershire, Washington and Wiliamstown, and it was too close to call.

With three of six precincts reporting, state Rep. Rodney Graham, R-Williamstown, had 35 percent, while state Rep. Rep. Susan Hatch Davis, P/D-Washington, had 26 percent. Chelsea Republican Bob Frenier narrowly trailed with 25 percent, while Washington Progressive Adam DesLauriers had 15 percent.

In Orange-Caledonia, covering Newbury, Groton and Topsham, Joe Parsons, a West Newbury Republican, was running against state Rep. Chip Conquest, D-Wells River.

With one of three towns reporting, Conquest had 60 percent to 40 percent for Parsons.

Vermont House Majority Leader Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford, was running unopposed in Orange-2, serving Bradford, Fairlee and West Fairlee.

Two young candidates from Brookfield, Vt., have won the two-seat Orange-Washington-Addison district in the Vermont House.  Independent Ben Jickling won 30 percent in the five-town, Randolph-area district, and Jay Hooper, a Democrat, had 27 percent. State Rep. Patsy French, D-Randolph, with 24 percent, and Randolph Republican Bob Orleck, with 20 percent.t, fell short.

State Rep. Marjorie Ryerson, D-Randolph, did not run for re-election.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at or at 603-727-3242.

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