Election Day produces big turnout, historic results11/6/08

    Observer photo by Karen Pike
Shortly after the opening of the Williston polling booths on Tuesday morning, Jerry Huertz (left) and Carter Smith begin processing the 2,400 absentee ballots received at the Town Clerk’s office prior to Election Day. 

Election Day produces big turnout, historic results11/6/08

Incumbents preferred in Williston

Nov. 6, 2008

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

Williston voters chose incumbents for state offices but sided with citizens nationwide in their pick for a president who promised change.

Barack Obama was by far the more popular presidential candidate, garnering 67 percent of ballots in Williston. John McCain was a distant runner-up with 31 percent of the vote.

Vermont voters chose Obama as the nation’s first-ever African-American president by a similar margin. The Democrat was elected with 52 percent of the national vote, with some precincts yet to be counted early Wednesday morning.

In state races, Williston voters stuck with incumbents. A four-way contest for two seats representing Williston in the Vermont House resulted in an easy victory for incumbent Democrat Jim McCullough. He received 3,088 votes and was picked on 59 percent of the ballots.

Terry Macaig, chairman of the Williston Selectboard, won the other House seat. He received 2,471 votes and was chosen on 47 percent of ballots.

Republican challengers Brennan Duffy and Shelley Palmer finished third and fourth, respectively. Duffy received 1,819 votes and Palmer 1,326.

All four House candidates camped out at the polls Tuesday night, waiting for the results to be posted. Macaig smiled broadly after learning he had made the cut.

“Obviously, I’m gratified that voters recognized my contributions to the town,” he said. “I’ve served residents on the Selectboard and I think voters trust me to do likewise and represent Williston in Montpelier.”

In the state Senate race in Chittenden County, both Williston and county residents stayed with the incumbents and chose one newcomer, Denise Barnard of Richmond, according to local media reports early Wednesday morning.

Ginny Lyons of Williston, a three-term incumbent, was re-elected in a 14-candidate scramble for six seats. She finished with the second-most votes in Williston and third in the countywide tally.

The others elected were Ed Flanagan of Burlington, Hinda Miller of Burlington, Doug Racine of Richmond and Diane Snelling of Hinesburg.

Williston voters mimicked the picks of the majority of Vermonters, who elected incumbent Democrats for most statewide offices. And as in the past elections, the majority of Williston residents split their tickets by choosing Republican Jim Douglas to serve a fourth term as governor.

Douglas beat challengers Anthony Pollina, an independent, and Gaye Symington, a Democrat, taking 60 percent of the vote in Williston and 55 percent among all Vermonters. Pollina and Symington each received 19 percent of the vote in Williston and similar percentages statewide.

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, Attorney General William Sorrell and Treasurer Jeb Spaulding, all incumbent Democrats, cruised to victory. Each was elected by huge margins in both Williston and among voters statewide. Spaulding, with no serious challenger, received 4,403 votes in Williston, the most for any candidate in any race.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch easily triumphed over little-known third party challengers. The Democrat received 79 percent of the vote in Williston.

Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie also won re-election to another term. Williston residents picked him with 61 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Thomas Costello.

Finally, two small changes to Williston’s town charter received voter approval by a wide margin. Seventy-four percent of voters approved the changes, which shift the zoning administrator position from an appointed to a hired employee and mandate that solid waste companies have contracts with the town.



State Representative

Brennan Duffy (R)    1,819

Terry Macaig (D)    2,471

Jim McCullough (D)*    3,088

Shelley Palmer (R)    1,326

Williston charter changes

Yes             3,899

No            712

Notes: All numbers represent unofficial tallies.

* Denotes incumbent





John McCain (R)        1,638        84,946

Barack Obama (D)        3,496        181,867


Thomas Hermann (P)        99        7,096

Peter Welch (D)*        4,137        205,808


Jim Douglas (R)*        3,141        143,733

Anthony Pollina (I)        985        56,346

Gaye Symington (D)        977        56,472


Thomas Costello (D)        1,627        100,596

Brian Dubie (R)*        3,234        146,034

Richard Kemp (P)        180        10,682


Don Schramm (P)        276        16,999

Jeb Spaulding (D, R)*        4,403        221,182


Eugene Bifano (R)        1,208        59,377

Deb Markowitz (D)*        3,456        174,620

Marjorie Power (P)        154        10,625


Martha Abbott (P)        510        27,637

Thomas Salmon (D, R)*    3,972        197,503


Charlotte Dennett (P)        187        13,913

Karen Kerin (R)        757        46,086

William Sorrell (D)*        3,750        175,236


Darren Adams (R)        1,310        13,973

Tim Ashe (D)            1,605        18,381

Denise Barnard (D)        1,684        20,152

Dennis Benard (R)        1,420        14,454

Agnes Clift (R)         1,171        12,385

Ed Flanagan (D)*        2,485        28,355

Ginny Lyons (D)*        2,918        26,513

Hinda Miller (D)*        1,924        22,486

Robyn Myers-Moore (R)    1,234        13,259

Doug Racine (D)*        3,007        33,791

Diane Snelling (R)*        2,780        27,161

Paula Spadaccini (R)         1,368        13,126

Notes: All numbers represent unofficial tallies. State and county totals reflect what media outlets were reporting as of press time Wednesday and may not include results from late-reporting precincts. Due to space limitations, votes for independent and some third-party candidates are not included in this list. Due to the large number of names, candidates for justice of the peace were also omitted.

* Denotes incumbent.


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