Vermont governor Phil Scott defeats Democratic challenger

November 7, 2018
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Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott smiles during an election night rally party in Burlington, Vt., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Scott faced Democratic gubernatorial challenger Christine Hallquist, who conceded the race earlier in the evening. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Republican Phil Scott was elected to his second term as Vermont’s governor Tuesday by relying on his promises to keep the state affordable and outpacing the Democratic former utility executive who was first transgender major party gubernatorial nominee in history.

Scott, who said he and his Democratic opponent Christine Hallquist didn’t agree on many issues, he thanked her for running an energetic and historic campaign that focused on the issues that mattered to the people of Vermont.

“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.”

In conceding the race, Hallquist said Vermont was a beacon of hope for the rest of the country.

“We showed the rest of the country what good democracy looks like,” Hallquist said. “And as I’ve said all along in this race, you know, I’m standing on the shoulders of thousands of Vermonters before me who fought for what is right and what is just and we will continue to fight for what is just.”

Vermont has not defeated an incumbent governor since 1962 and voters 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.

Scott had faced a rebellion from at least part of his base for supporting a series of gun restrictions that, while mild by national standards, angered many members of Vermont’s avid hunting community. The restrictions, which Scott signed into law in April, came after the arrest of a teenager on charges he was plotting a school shooting.

Scott, 60, of Berlin, the former owner of a construction business and part-time stock car racer, spent his first two years in office saying the best way to help Vermont’s struggling families is to keep taxes and fees low for everyone as a way to put money in peoples’ pockets and encouraging job-creating business owners.

Until last winter, when she resigned to run for governor, Hallquist, 62, of Hyde Park, led a rural electric cooperative. During the campaign, she focused on the proposals and vision that she had for leading Vermont.

Outside of the state she was proud to be the first transgender gubernatorial nominee.

LGBTQ advocates said her candidacy was an important symbol for the transgender community.

After winning the nomination Hallquist reported her campaign had received a number of death threats.

At the outset of the race, Scott, who has made calls for civility in politics a touchstone of his governorship and his campaign, said he wouldn’t tolerate “hateful, discriminatory and disrespectful speech of any type” and the governor’s race should be decided on the issues.


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