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The Latest: Vermont’s GOP governor fends off Democrat

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) — The Latest on Election Day in Vermont (all times local):

11:20 p.m.

Vermont’s Republican Gov. Phil Scott is headed for a second term as the state’s top executive after fending off a challenge from a former utility executive whose had become the first transgender major party gubernatorial nominee in history.

On Tuesday, 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.

Vermont voters, with their long history of supporting incumbent political candidates, stood behind the well-liked Scott and his theme of not raising taxes or fees as part of a broader effort to promote economic development and jobs while bringing more people to the state.

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11:05 p.m.

Vermont’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist has conceded the race to incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott.

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

The Associated Press had not yet called the race.

Hallquist was the first transgender major party gubernatorial nominee in history. She said in conceding the race to Scott that Vermont is a beacon of hope.

But Vermont voters, with their long history of supporting incumbent political candidates, stood behind the well-liked Scott and his theme of not raising taxes or fees as part of a broader effort to promote economic development and jobs while bringing more people to the state.

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9 p.m.

Peter Welch, Vermont’s lone representative in the U.S. House, has easily won re-election to his seventh term.

In Tuesday’s balloting, Welch defeated Republican Anya Tynio and two third-party candidates.

Since Welch was first elected to the House in 2006, he has consistently been one of Vermont’s most popular politicians, handily winning re-election every two years.

Welch, of Norwich, traditionally one of the most liberal members of Congress, says Vermont residents must fight what he feels are the disastrous policies of President Donald Trump.

Welch has worked to pass a comprehensive climate bill, cut prescription drug prices, raise the national hourly minimum wage and expand quality affordable health care by passing Medicare for All.

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7:05 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, has cruised to re-election for his third term in the Senate, easily outpacing eight candidates.

Sanders, the independent who has long been one of the state’s most popular politicians, spent little time campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Sanders has faced few serious opponents since he was first elected to the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990. He moved up to the Senate in 2006.

The Republican candidate, Lawrence Zupan, a Manchester real estate broker with experience in international trade, campaigned against what he felt was big government and social welfare programs. But his candidacy never gained traction and his campaign drew little attention.

Rather than focusing on his re-election, Sanders traveled the country to support Democratic candidates and an array of policy issues.

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4 p.m.

Vermont’s two main gubernatorial candidates have voted and they are now waiting for the polls to close to learn their fates.

Democrat Christine Hallquist cast her ballot at about 8 a.m. in her hometown of Hyde Park.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott voted around noon in his hometown of Berlin.

Hallquist and independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders were both campaigning in St. Albans Tuesday at the same time.

Town clerks across the state are reporting a strong turnout in Tuesday’s elections.

The Vermont Secretary of State’s Office said more than 69,000 residents voted early this year.

Voters are choosing a governor, members of the U.S. Senate and House, and state legislators.

Vermont’s polls close at 7 p.m.

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12:15 p.m.

Poll workers in Vermont say they’re seeing a strong turnout for the 2018 midterm elections.

Vermont Public Radio reports an extra line was set up to check in Middlebury voters on Tuesday morning. The town clerk in Monkton says it’s the busiest she’s ever seen. A record turnout was expected in Pittsford.

The Vermont Secretary of State’s Office said more than 69,000 residents voted early this year.

Voters are choosing a governor, members of the U.S. Senate and House, and state legislators.

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12:19 a.m.

Vermont’s top political leaders and their challengers will learn their fates after polls close in the 2018 midterm elections.

Polls open at varying times Tuesday morning across the state, but all close at 7 p.m.

The race between Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democrat Christine Hallquist offers voters a clear choice between their policies. Hallquist could become the first transgender major-party gubernatorial nominee in history.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, is seeking a third term. He is being challenged by Republican businessman Lawrence Zupan.

And Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch is defending his seat against Republican Anya Tynio.

Voters will choose all 180 members of the Vermont Legislature.

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