In Washington County, the hottest primary election race this year is being run by six Democrats vying for three nominations to the state Senate, and one man running for seven different offices.
Democrat Francis Brooks of Montpelier stirred things up at the Statehouse in 2016 when he narrowly beat Bill Doyle, the Montpelier Republican who’d been in the Senate since 1968.
Doyle, a retired Johnson State College professor who was feted at the college last month on his 92nd birthday, retired from politics after losing to Brooks. This year, the man who unseated him isn’t running, either.
That means incumbent Ann Cummings of Montpelier, a Democrat, and Anthony Pollina of Middlesex, a Progressive/Democrat who’s running in the Democratic primary, will face off against four others in the primary election Aug. 14. Only three of the six will win spots on the ballot for the Nov. 6 general election.
Three Republicans are also running for the state Senate seats.
Other Democrats running for Washington County Senate seats are Andrew Brewer, Ashley A. Hill and Andrew Perchlik, all of Montpelier, and Theo Kennedy of Middlesex.
Republicans running for the Senate seat are Ken Alger and Dwayne Tucker, both of Barre Town, and Chris S. Bradley of Northfield.
One Washington County man will appear seven times on the Republican primary ballot. H. Brooke Paige, R-Washington, is running against powerhouse incumbents Bernie Sanders for the U.S. Senate and Peter Welch for the U.S. House of Representatives, and he’s also running for five of Vermont’s highest statewide offices — lieutenant governor, state treasurer, secretary of state, auditor of accounts and attorney general.
Paige, a perennial candidate, is a long shot, and faces primary competition in the congressional races, and has a primary contest against state Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton, for lieutenant governor. But the other three positions don’t have any other Republicans on the ballot, so we’ll certainly see Paige in November.
In local elections, the only way Waterbury-area voters won’t see all the declared candidates Nov. 6 is if they drop out, since none of them will be eliminated in the primary. But there will be at least one competition.
In the Washington-7 House district — which covers Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield and Warren — incumbents Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, and Ed Read, I-Fayston, will be joined by Kari Dolan, D-Waitsfield. Read was tapped last year to replace former Rep. Adam Greshin, whom Gov. Phil Scott appointed his finance commissioner. Dolan was one of several other people who applied for Greshin's seat.
Incumbent Waterbury Democrats Tom Stevens and Theresa Wood are unopposed in the Washington-Chittenden House district, which serves Waterbury, Bolton, Huntington and Buel’s Gore.
In other local races, all unopposed incumbents:
• Washington County assistant judges Miriam “Muffy” Conlon of Montpelier and Otto Trautz of Cabot, both Democrats.
• County sheriff Sam Hill, R-Montpelier.
• High bailiff, Marc Poulin, R-Barre Town.
• Rory Thibault, D-Cabot, state’s attorney. Thibault was named to the job on an interim basis Jan. 9, after Scott Williams resigned, citing post-traumatic stress disorder from the fatal shooting of Lara Sobel in 2015. Williams was one of the first people on the scene of that murder.
Updated to note that Independent Ed Read of Fayston is running for re-election. As of press time, the Vermont Secretary of State's candidate list did not include independents.