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Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott heads to second term

November 7, 2018
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FILE - This combination of 2018 file photos show Vermont Democratic gubernatorial challenger Christine Hallquist, left, and Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who will face off in the November general election. (AP Photo, File)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott is headed for a second term as the state’s top executive after fending off a challenge Tuesday from a former utility executive who had become the first transgender major party gubernatorial nominee in history.

Scott defeated Democrat Christine Hallquist, who had campaigned with a Bernie Sanders-esque promise of a $15 per hour minimum wage, universal health care and paid family leave.

Scott thanked Hallquist in his acceptance speech for running a spirited and civil campaign and said Vermont is an example for the rest of the country for its civil politics.

“Across the nation, other races in other states, turned negative and uncivil. In Vermont we rose above it,” Scott said. “The news out of Vermont this election was clear. We can disagree, we can debate and do it with passion, but in this state, we can do it respectfully.”

Jeff Maclay, 32, of Marshfield, said he voted mostly for Democrats, except for Republican Gov. Phil Scott.

“I feel like he’s doing a reasonable job and I’m not going to mess with success,” he said.

Voters also chose candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and all 180 members of the Legislature.

Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is considering a second run for the presidency, cruised to re-election for a third term, easily outpacing eight candidates, including Republican Lawrence Zupan. Sanders spent little time campaigning in the state ahead of Tuesday’s election.

“Being a United States senator for the people of Vermont has been the honor of my life,” Sanders said after he won the race. “And I thank the people of Vermont for allowing me to once again serve as their senator.”

In the race for Vermont’s lone representative to the U.S. House, Rep. Peter Welch also easily won re-election to his seventh term, defeating Republican Anya Tynio and two third-party candidates.

A majority of voters casting midterm election ballots in Vermont said the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

“I don’t like the way the country’s going these days, so I was interested in making that known,” said Joe John, 60, of Marshfield. “I voted Democrat.”

As of last week, there were almost 483,000 people registered to vote in Vermont, which is more than the 2016 presidential election year by about 18,000.

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AP reporter Lisa Rathke in Marshfield, Vermont, contributed to this report.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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