In election season with historic turnover, some statewide races will see little competition

Secretary of State office
The deadline to file primary candidacy with the Vermont Secretary of State's Office was Thursday evening. File photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger

In an election cycle where Vermonters will elect a historic number of new statewide officeholders, some primary races will see remarkably little competition come August, while others will be heated.

Thursday marked the Secretary of State’s Office’s filing deadline for primary candidates. In two open races for attorney general and secretary of state, perennial candidate H. Brooke Paige is the only Republican candidate vying for the party’s nomination.

And Democrats won’t see primaries for their party’s nominations for the gubernatorial election, nor for state treasurer.

The treasurer race is particularly empty. Former Financial Regulation Commissioner Mike Pieciak will run unopposed in the Democratic primary, as will Don Schramm for the Progressive party. Schramm’s candidacy has not yet been certified by the Secretary of State’s Office.

For the Republican nomination, Paige will compete with financial analyst Kevin Divney. A political newcomer, Divney declared his candidacy under the wire on Thursday, but has the backing of Vermont GOP Chair Paul Dame.

Charity Clark, the former chief of staff for Attorney General TJ Donovan, and Washington County prosecutor Rory Thibault will face off in the Democratic primary for attorney general. 

Paige is unopposed for the Republican nomination, as is Elijah Bergman (uncertified) for the Progressive.

Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, D-Bradford, Montpelier City Clerk John Odum and Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters will duke it out for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state. 

On the Republican side, only Paige has declared, and Robert Millar is the only Progressive to have declared (uncertified).

The open race for lieutenant governor is crowded. While the position is largely ceremonial, it’s seen as a statewide stepping stone to higher office. Rep. Charlie Kimbell, D-Woodstock, nonprofit executive Patricia Preston, former legislator Kitty Toll and former lieutenant governor David Zuckerman are slated to compete for the Democratic nomination. None of their candidacies were certified as of Thursday evening.

Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, and Gregory Thayer will compete for the Republican nomination. Cindy Weed is alone in her bid for the Progressive nomination (uncertified).

Republican Gov. Phil Scott is one of only two statewide office holders who intends to run for reelection. Two challengers have stepped up for the party nomination: Stephen Bellows (whose candidacy is not yet certified by the Secretary of State’s Office) and Peter Duval of Underhill.

Across the aisle, activist Brenda Siegel faces no Democratic primary opponents. Susan Hatch Davis (uncertified) will appear on the Progressive gubernatorial primary ballot.

Auditor Doug Hoffer is unopposed in his Democratic primary bid to keep his seat. Paige is the only Republican to declare his candidacy for the role, and Marielle Blais (uncertified) is the only Progressive.

Vermonters have known for months that Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windham, former congressional staffer Sianay Chase Clifford, Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, physician Louis Meyers and Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden, would face off in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House. (Ram Hinsdale’s candidacy is not yet certified.)

What voters may not have known is that Liam Madden — a self-identified independent whose website declares that “the two party system prevents us from solving our problems” — has filed his (uncertified) petition to appear on the Republican ballot for the U.S. House. 

Ericka Redic, a host of a conservative internet talk show, and Anya Tynio of Charleston will also compete with Madden in the U.S. House Republican primary. Barbara Nolfi is unopposed for the Progressive nomination (uncertified).

For Vermont’s open U.S. Senate race, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., will compete with Isaac Evans-Frantz of Brattleboro and Niki Thran of Warren for the Democratic nomination. 

Former U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan, Gerald Malloy of Weathersfield and Myers Mermel of Manchester are vying for the Republican nomination. Martha Abbott (uncertified) is unopposed in her bid for the Progressive nomination.

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Sarah Mearhoff

About Sarah

Sarah Mearhoff is one of VTDigger's political reporters, covering the Vermont statehouse, executive branch and congressional delegation. Prior to joining Digger, she covered Minnesota and South Dakota state politics for Forum Communications' newspapers across the Upper Midwest for three years. She has also covered politics in Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she is a proud alumna of the Pennsylvania State University where she studied journalism.

Email: [email protected]

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