Vermonters Re-elect GOP Governor; Choose Democratic Lieutenant Governor
Vermonters continued a long tradition of electing a governor and lieutenant governor from opposite parties on Election Day. Bidding for a third term, Republican Governor Phil Scott soundly defeated his challenger, while a newcomer to politics will hold the second-highest state office.
Vermont’s gubernatorial campaign pitted Phil Scott, a moderate Republican seeking his third two-year term, against Democrat David Zuckerman, who had been serving as Lieutenant Governor. Zuckerman is also a Progressive. Unofficial results show Scott easily winning 67 to 26 percent.
During the Vermont Democrats’ virtual election night watch party, Zuckerman thanked supporters and conceded. “I of course want to congratulate Governor Phil Scott on his re-election tonight. While this election did not go our way I want to thank all Vermonters for their consideration and for the conversations that we’ve had in this election. And when I spoke with the Governor I congratulated him and I offered that I am ready to stand by him for our democracy, for the decency that we represent in Vermont and that we can be leaders across this country if need be in making sure we respect the outcome of the elections and we continue to stand together for democracy no matter what our political differences on the issues.”
Scott released a video statement after the election was officially called in his favor. He said he is humbled by the continued support of Vermonters. “I first want to thank Lieutenant Governor Zuckerman for his years of public service and every candidate who was on the ballot. Your faith and trust in me is the greatest honor of my life. On my first day in office, almost four years ago, I signed an executive order outlining my strategic goals to grow the economy, make Vermont more affordable and protect the most vulnerable. I want to assure you these priorities will be just as important during my next term as they were in my first and they will continue to guide my team as we rebuild and recover from the pandemic. Thank you again for your faith and trust in me. I’ll continue to do my very best for all Vermonters.”
Zuckerman’s decision to run for governor opened up the Lieutenant Governor’s seat. Republican Scott Milne and Democrat Molly Gray were the major party candidates vying for the seat. Milne is a businessman who ran for governor in 2014 and Gray is an Assistant Attorney General mounting her first political campaign. Unofficial election night results show Gray edging Milne 49.52% to 42.22%. Gray says her campaign issues mirror voters’ concerns. “Equal access to child care across the state, internet and broadband access. Our small businesses continue to struggle and I got into this race because of our demographic challenges. And throughout this campaign one thing that has come up again and again is those demographic challenges that we face and the issues that really relate to a generation that wants to stay here are the same issues that Vermonters are facing because of the pandemic. So I see this moment as one where we can recover stronger from COVID-19 and we can do that in a way that sets us up for a more resilient, a more equitable, a more sustainable future for the state and one that’s able to attract and retain workers in Vermont.”
Milne released a statement saying "I am honored by the tens of thousands of Vermonters who supported my candidacy. I send my sincere congratulations to Molly Gray on her victory this evening. I wish her success moving forward."
There were also a number of Vermont legislative races. Current House Speaker Democrat Mitzi Johnson lost her re-election bid by 167 votes, third behind two Republicans.