May 28, 2020

Incumbents hold House nominations

Voters head to the polls on primary day in Williston on Tuesday.Observer photo by Al Frey

Challenger’s solid showing makes impression

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

There are a variety of interpretations emerging from the results of Tuesday’s party primary elections:

A solid showing from 26-year-old first-time candidate Anthony Jordick against two established incumbents for a Democratic nomination to the Vermont House of Representatives means Williston voters are open to new Statehouse representation;

Having a contested Democratic primary for Williston’s House seats for the first time in at least two decades resulted in higher-than-expected voter turnout;

Williston Democrats have a viable successor to longtime incumbents Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough.

Macaig and McCullough held off Jordick to recapture the Democratic nominations for House of Representatives in voting Tuesday at the Williston Armory. They will face Republican Joy Limoge in the Nov. 6 general election in a four-way race for two seats — first-time candidate Kathleen Orion will be on the ballot as an independent. Limoge, a member of the Williston Selectboard, won the Republican nomination in an uncontested race Tuesday.

Limoge ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Macaig and McCullough in the 2016 general election.

She believes Jordick’s 537 vote tally, compared to Macaig’s 667 and McCullough’s 754, is a signal that Williston voters are ready for new blood in the Legislature. Macaig has served for 10 years and McCullough has served for 16.

“The fact that the vote was close tells me voters feel it’s time for new thoughts and new perspectives,” Limoge said.

Since her defeat in 2016, Limoge has served two-plus years on the selectboard, giving her greater name recognition and a record of service to run on. McCullough remains confident that won’t be enough to unseat he or Macaig in November.

“Joy is serving our town on the selectboard and for that we are all grateful,” McCullough said. “I fully expect Terry and I will prevail in the general election. I believe our values and performance as representatives closely match Williston.”

Observer photo by Al Frey
Joe Bosowski is checked off on the voter registration list on primary day in Williston.

“It will be hard fought like it was two years ago,” added Macaig, who serves alongside Limoge as chair of the selectboard. “Joy is a good campaigner. Jim and I will be working together to gain our two seats back again.”

Both incumbents were impressed with Jordick’s campaign.

“I’m very happy that Anthony chose to run. He is an excellent young man whose time will come as a Williston state representative,” McCullough said. “This was not his time.”

On the morning after, Jordick was processing a mixture of pride, disappointment and gratitude. He said he approached the campaign with realistic expectations, hoping at least to invigorate the local electoral process by giving voters a new choice.

“I am proud of what I accomplished,” he said. “I’d like to think that in two years I will have a renewed sense of energy to give it another shot.”

Of the 1,683 voters who participated in the primary, 1,163 chose to vote the Democratic ballot. A total of 509 voters took Republican ballots, and eight voters took Progressive ballots.

“It’s an honor and a privilege (to vote),” resident Joyce Tasetano said after casting her ballot. “I am proud to be a part of this country; we all have something to give.”

— Additional reporting by Riley Jenson