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Scott to Face Hallquist in Race for Vermont Governor

  • Dexter Maxwell Crosby, 8, of White River Junction, Vt., reads the book "39 Clues, One False Note" as his father Daniel exits the polling booth after voting in the primary election at the Hartford High School Gymnasium in Hartford, Vt., on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Erick Krauss, of Hartford, Vt., exits the pulling booth after voting in the primary election at the Hartford High School Gymnasium in Hartford, Vt., on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Candidates Kevin "Coach" Christie, left, and Becca White, Middle, talk with current and future voters outside the Hartford High School Gymnasium polling center in Hartford, Vt., on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • File - In this Feb. 21, 2018 file photo, utility executive Christine Hallquist poses for a photo during an interview in Johnson, Vt. Hallquist defeated three other Democrats seeking the party's nomination for Vermont governor in the Tuesday, Aug. 14 primary election, becoming the first openly transgender candidate to be nominated for governor. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)

  • Governor Phil Scott delivers the fiscal year 2019 budget address Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in the House Chamber of the Vermont State House in Montpelier, Vt. Scott is asking state lawmakers to approve a 2019 budget that doesn't approve any new taxes or fees and encourages people to move to the Green Mountain State. (Josh Kuckens/The Times Argus via AP



Associated Press
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Montpelier — A former Vermont utility executive on Tuesday became the first transgender candidate to be nominated for governor, and she’ll face the Republican incumbent, who survived a bitter backlash from his base over gun restrictions he supported.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott defeated a challenge from Springfield businessman Keith Stern in his quest to win a second term. He will face Christine Hallquist, who won the Democratic primary to run for the state’s highest office in November, when she would become the nation’s first transgender governor, if elected.

Hallquist has said she doesn’t want Vermont residents to elect her governor because of her transgender status. Rather, she has said, she wants her candidacy to rise or fall on her plans to help state residents get higher-paying jobs, provide health care for their families and better educate their children.

She said she plans to appeal to voters with a progressive message that includes a livable wage, Medicare for all, free public college education and high-speed broadband access even to those who live on remote back roads.

Outside Vermont, though, she said she’s happy to carry the standard as the candidate who, if elected, would be the nation’s first transgender governor.

Scott, first elected in 2016, was facing a rebellion from his base due to his support for a series of gun restrictions that, while mild by national standards, angered many members of Vermont’s avid hunting community. The restrictions, which Scott signed into law in April, came after the arrest of a teenager on charges he was plotting a school shooting.

Those measures included raising the age to buy firearms from 18 to 21, restricting the size of gun magazines and requiring background checks for most private gun sales.

With more than two-thirds of precincts reporting, Scott had 64 percent of the vote to just under 33 percent for Stern, who co-owns a produce store in White River Junction with his wife.

Scott easily defeated Stern in Hartford, winning 218 votes to 102 for Stern.

Scott will seek re-election in November by continuing his pledge to make the state more affordable, not raise taxes or fees, foster a better environment for businesses and attract newcomers to the state.

Hallquist defeated environmental activist James Ehlers; dance festival organizer Brenda  Siegel; and 14-year-old student Ethan Sonneborn, on the ballot because a quirk in state law doesn’t require candidates to be of voting age. Democratic state Sen. John Rodgers, from Vermont’s remote and conservative Northeast Kingdom, failed in his bid for a grassroots write-in campaign, largely motivated by his displeasure with firearms restrictions.

With 204 of 275 voting districts reporting, Hallquist had 40.4 percent of the vote, to 18.5 percent for Ehlers, 18.5 percent for Siegel, and 6.8 percent for Sonneborn.

Voters also elected candidates for the U.S. Senate and the House.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont’s lone representative in the U.S. House, won the Democratic nomination to seek re-election in November, when he will face perennial candidate H. Brooke Paige. Welch, a Norwich resident, trounced Daniel Freilich, a VA physician from Brownsville, with more than 80 percent of the vote.

Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie  Sanders won Vermont’s Democratic Sena te primary on Tuesday but was expected to turn down the nomination, as he did in his previous campaigns, and support other Democratic candidates.

Sanders, long one of Vermont’s most popular politicians, is thought to be considering a presidential run in 2020 and already is on Vermont’s November ballot as an independent.

Under Vermont law he cannot appear on the November ballot as both a Democrat and an independent. In his previous Senate races, in 2012 and 2006, he declined the Democratic nomination but accepted the formal endorsement of the state’s Democratic Party.