Vermont Democratic treasurer survives GOP challenge

MONTPELIER -- In what had been expected to be one of Vermont's tightest statewide races, Democratic state Treasurer Beth Pearce easily survived an electoral challenge from Republican Wendy Wilton on Tuesday.

Instead, the down-ticket race that provided the surprise was Democrat Douglas Hoffer's win over Republican Vincent Illuzzi in the race for vacant state auditor's post.

The treasurer's race had been considered the GOP's best chance to pick up a seat that had been held by a Democrat. But Pearce, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Peter Shumlin and had never run for office, easily withstood Wilton's challenge.

The state treasurer is responsible for watching over the state's public pension funds and making annual recommendations to the Legislature and the governor about prudent borrowing and other aspects of financial stewardship.

In the only statewide race won by a Republican, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott was re-elected, easily defeating Cassandra Gekas, who ran as a Democrat and a Progressive. It was a rare GOP victory in a night that saw Democrats and independents winning Vermont's other statewide races.

Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos, who faced no major party opponent, and Attorney General William Sorrell also were re-elected. Sorrell defeated Republican Jack McMullen.

Some observers had predicted that Illuzzi, a 32-year veteran of the Vermont Statehouse, would win based on how wellknown he was around the state. The auditor's job is to review the state's annual financial statements, which are prepared by an outside accounting firm, and conduct a wide range of financial and operational reviews of state and municipal agencies.

The current auditor, Republican Tom Salmon, did not seek re-election.


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