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The Primary Results Are In: Zuckerman Nominated for Gov, Kesha Ram Set to Become First Woman of Color in Senate

Chittenden County Sen. David Zuckerman, who is running in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, stands for a portrait at the Intervale Community Center in Burlington on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Zuckerman is well-known for his progressive approach toward cannabis legalization and reform. by Monica Donovan for Heady Vermont
Heady Vermont Staff
Heady Vermont Staff 13 Aug 2020

Vermont’s Primary Day took place on Tuesday, and due to the ongoing pandemic, things were a bit different this year. The Vermont Secretary of State’s office encouraged Vermont residents to vote absentee, though polling places across the state opened for business.

Turnout was expected to be high, with contested statewide races in each primary plus more Vermonters requesting absentee ballots than voted overall in the 2016 primary, which set a record for voter turnout.

A number of Vermont communities offered drive-through voting. In Barre, voters cast their ballots at the Civic Center, a portion of which serves as an ice rink in the winter. In Dorset, they even came on horseback:

About a week ago on August 6, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos said his office had heard back from almost 150,000 people requesting ballots. As of Monday morning, the state had received 104,000 absentee ballots.

A tweet late Tuesday night from Secretary of State Jim Condos’ office did not provide specific numbers but stated that Vermont had “shattered” the previous record for primary election turnout. The record was set in 2016 with about 120,000 ballots cast in a primary election.

Seven Days, meanwhile, has said that unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s Office show that 170,586 people voted in the primary, a  39 percent higher turnout than the recent primary record of 122,437 set in 2000.

Zuckerman won the Democratic primary nomination for Governor on Tuesday by a wide margin, with 50.76% of the vote – runner up Rebecca Holcombe came in with nearly 40%. Molly Gray took the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor (46%), beating Tim Ashe (35%).

Incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who’s won high approval ratings for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, easily took the Republican nomination with 73% of the overall vote with all precincts reporting. Zuckerman now faces a general election campaign against Gov. Scott, who’s won high approval ratings for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Vermont.

The Progressive Party had been encouraging its members to write-in David Zuckerman in the governor’s race instead of Cris Ericson, who was on the Progressive ballot along with Boots Wardinski. Josh Wronski, the executive director of the Progressive Party, told VPR last month the party didn’t support Ericson (or Wardinski) and would likely issue a non-endorsement if she won the gubernatorial nomination.

Meanwhile, Kesha Ram is set to become the Vermont Senate’s first woman of color following Tuesday’s primary, VTDigger reported yesterday.

Incumbent Sen. Chris Pearson, P/D-Chittenden, managed to win his nomination by about 30 votes. The other three Democratic incumbents running in the crowded state senate race in Chittenden County held onto their seats by a decent margin: Ginny Lyons, Michael Sirotkin and Phil Baruth. The Chittenden Senate race proved to be the most competitive legislative race of this primary season, after two seats opened up when Sen. Tim Ashe and Sen. Debbie Ingram dropped out to compete for the lieutenant governor post.

In another first, Winooski candidate for the Vermont House of Representatives is in line to become the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker – Taylor Small secured the Democratic nomination for one of the two seats in Winooski’s two-member district. Incumbent Hal Colston also won the nomination. There are no Republican competitors up against Colston and Small for the general election.

Drug policy reform advocate Dave Silberman also won the Democratic nomination for Addison County, Vermont high bailiff.

Embedded below are full Vermont Primary results from the Associated Press. Absentee ballots for the November 3, 2020, general election will be available not later than September 21, 2020. Check out our handy Vermont voting guide here, and stay tuned for general election updates:

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