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Midnight passes in Vermont without resolution for Democratic attorney general race

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August 29, 2012

By Maresa Strano


MONTPELIER, VT: Whatever has been implied by reports of incumbent Bill Sorrell's confident attitude or from witnesses of a mass exodus out of challenger T.J. Donovan's campaign headquarters, as of midnight Eastern Standard Time, survey says that the race is not over yet.[1]

Sorrell and Donovan were locked in a dead heat from the time reports started piling in around 8pm until, with 95% of precincts reporting and a mere 600 votes separating the two Democratic attorney general candidates, everyone decided to turn in for the night. Although Sorrell ended the night with the advantage, Donovan scored crucial victories in Sorrell's home city of Burlington as well as Chittenden County, in which both candidates have a strong personal stake.[2] Sorrell said he would not declare victory unless Donovan conceded; Donovan said that concession was not an option.[3] If he meets the requisite 2% vote difference, Donovan may ask for a recount.[4]

Six state executive offices are up for election in Vermont in 2012. Only the Democratic primary for attorney general was contested, but every race appeared on the primary ballot: Vermont's nonpartisan primary system allows all voters, regardless of party affiliation, to vote for a Republican, Democratic, or Progressive candidate, or a write-in, in each contest. According to Title 17 of the Vermont statutes, in order for a state executive write-in candidate to qualify for the general election, he or she must either receive more votes than an opponent whose name is already printed on the ballot, more than half the number of votes as the amount of petition signatures required for usual candidate filing.[5] Unopposed Progressive gubernatorial nominee Martha Abbott pledged in June to drop out after the primary rather than oppose incumbent Governor Peter Shumlin in the general election.[6] Despite later recanting on that pledge, The Progressive Party concentrated its efforts on a write-in campaign for slightly more committed contender Annette Smith, who as executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment has a strong, single-issue platform of stopping mountaintop wind development.

With the exception of the "To-Be-Determined" Democratic attorney general nominee, here is an unofficial list of candidates who will advance to the general election in 2012:[1]


Democratic Party Peter Shumlin incumbent
Republican Party Randolph "Randy" Brock
Lime2.png Martha Abbott

Lt. Governor:

Democratic Party Cassandra Gekas
Republican Party Phillip Scott incumbent
Lime2.png Marjorie Power

Secretary of State:

Democratic Party Jim Condos incumbent

Attorney General:

Democratic Party Bill Sorrell[7] incumbent (updated August 29, 2012)
Republican Party Jack McMullen


Democratic Party Beth Pearce incumbent
Republican Party Wendy Wilton
Lime2.png Don Schramm


Democratic Party Doug Hoffer
Republican Party Vincent Illuzzi

See also

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