Vermont Primary Roundup - Condos and Gibbs crush in SOS races

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August 25, 2010

By Joseph Kastner

MONTPELIER, Vermont: On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, the voters of Vermont went to the polls to select candidates from both major parties in the hotly contested secretary of state contest.

It was already anticipated that this race would be a lively one on both sides of the political aisle. This year after all marks the first time since 1998 that the voters of Vermont will select an entirely new individual to serve as the state's top election official and record keeper. Democrat Deborah Markowitz, who has held the position for the past twelve years, has chosen not to seek re-election to statewide position, opting instead to campaign for the governorship; the results of that contest are, as of this publishing time, still pending.[1][2]

Democratic supporters of former state senator Jim Condos were an uproar following a radio interview in which Condos's primary opponent, Charles Merriman, remarked that he wished he had chosen to run in the race as an independent. While critics of the former state attorney general contended that he was uncommitted to the principles of the Democratic Party, Merriman himself responded by saying that he was making a central point that the office of secretary of state should be nonpartisan.[3]

None of that seem to matter much to the primary voters, what little there were. Condos easily swept Merriman by a nearly 3-to-1 margin of victory.[4]

2010 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary[5]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Jim Condos (D) 67.1%
Charles Merriman (D) 32.9%
Total votes 53,934

On the Republican side of the campaign, the voters of Vermont had earlier in the year seen Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation Jason Gibbs and attorney Chris Roy spare over the issue of public debates in the lead up to the primary election.[6] While Roy has managed to garner the endorsement of national Republican figures such as Arizona Senator John McCain, former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, and Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty, Gibbs has received the backing of more local, though certainly no less prominent, politicians, including Governor Jim Douglas.[7]

How much of an impact those endorsements had on the campaign is unknown at this point. What can be said, however, is that the Republican primary contest was a lot closer then the Democratic one, though still not close enough for a winner not to be declared before the evening's end.[8]

2010 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary[5]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Jason Gibbs (R) 56.3%
Chris Roy (R) 43.7%
Total votes 25,741


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