Democrats are holding out hope that they can retake the Vermont governor’s mansion in the 2018 midterm elections as incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s approval ratings dip.
A heated battle over gun control has put the once-popular Scott at risk, though he’s still favored to beat Keith Stern, the small-business owner vying to take him down, in the GOP primary. But he could be more vulnerable than previously believed in the general election.
A number of Democrats are competing for the chance to topple Scott, including a 14-year-old upstart and a state senator who’s mounting a write-in campaign. Former energy executive Christine Hallquist could also become the first openly transgender person nominated for governor by a major party.
Both parties will choose their candidates in Tuesday’s primary elections. Polls close at 7 pm ET. Live results below, powered by Decision Desk.
Vermont governor: Democrats consider a 14-year-old and a former energy executive who could be the first openly transgender gubernatorial nominee
While Scott has been a popular governor for his single term in office, his efforts to strengthen gun control have more recently prompted significant backlash among Vermont voters.
The bills he signed in April, after authorities apprehended a teenager allegedly planning a school shooting in Fair Haven, Vermont, raised the age required for gun purchases to 21, enhanced the scope of background checks, and banned bump stocks, while putting limits on gun magazines.
State Sen. John Rodgers, a Democratic write-in candidate, is among those who’ve said he thinks certain provisions of these laws infringe on established constitutional rights.
There’s a crowded field on the Democratic side, include a few candidates who’ve been generating quite a bit of buzz. Ethan Sonneborn, a 14-year-old high school student that wants to see more young people engaged in politics, is among the contenders. (Vermont has no age requirement for candidates.) Christine Hallquist, a former electric co-op executive, is also on the ballot and could be the first openly transgender person nominated for governor by a major party.
Others on the docket include Brenda Siegel, an executive director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival, and James Ehlers, an environmental activist. A July poll found that Hallquist had the highest name recognition of the plethora of Democratic contenders.
Despite the blowback Scott has faced, the Cook Political Report still rates the race — for now — as Solid Republican.