The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up



vermont-stampIncumbent: Peter Shumlin (D)

Primary Election: September 14, 2010
General Election: November 2, 2010


RATING: Lean Democratic Pick-up

2006 Result: Douglas wins 56%-41%.
2008 Result: Douglas wins 53%-22%.


Is 2010 a Democrat’s turn? During the “modern era” of Vermont politics, beginning with the election of former Gov. Phil Hoff in 1962, all of Vermont’s governors have left office voluntarily, with the exception of Richard Snelling, who died in office.  In every instance the departing governor was succeeded by a governor of the other party.

Vermont Gubernatorial Race: Headlines

Susan Bartlett       Web Site facebook twitter

Matt Dunne           Web Site facebook twitter
Deb Markowitz     Web Site facebook YouTube twitter flickr
Doug Racine         Web Site facebook
Peter Shumlin      Web Site facebook YouTube twitter flickr


Brian Dubie Web Site facebook twitter flickr


3) Vermont – Along with its neighbor New Hampshire, the Green Mountain State is one of only two that continue electing governors to two-year terms. Through four elections, Republican Jim Douglas had proven a resilient politician in this overwhelmingly Democratic state. He would have been a heavy favorite to retain the Governor’s Mansion if he had run for a fifth term. When he announced his decision to retire in mid-August, this race quickly vaulted to the top of the Democrats’ list of pick-up opportunities. Unlike in recent election cycles when top-tier Democrats opted to keep their powder dry rather than challenge Douglas, leading Democrats had already declared their intentions to run prior to his retirement announcement. The field includes the current Secretary of State Deb Markowitz and two state Senators Susan Bartlett and Doug Racine. Others (Senate President Peter Shumlin and House Speaker Shap Smith) are rumored to be considering a run now that Douglas is leaving.

The Republicans are the ones who have been caught by surprise by Douglas’ decision. While Lt. Governor Brian Dubie has been mentioned as a candidate, the GOP field remains vacant two weeks after the governor’s announcement. Other potential candidates mentioned include 2006 House nominee Martha Rainville, son of a former GOP governor Mark Snelling, state Senator Randy Brock and state Auditor Tom Salmon (who recently switched from the Democratic Party).

Once a bastion of Republicanism, the tiny, homogeneous state has become one of the most liberal in the nation over the past couple of decades. This is the state, after all, that sends Bernie Sanders to the Senate and was the first in the nation to enact civil unions for same-sex couples. Could Douglas and former Senator (and party switcher) Jim Jeffords represent the last vestiges of a long Vermont moderate Republican tradition? The GOP’s social conservative agenda has decimated the party throughout New England. Without Douglas, the Republicans’ fortunes in the state appear bleak, but that could change dramatically if the gubernatorial race turns into a three-way contest, which is not inconceivable in the Green Mountain State.

Besides the region-wide decline of the GOP, there’s another factor that sets Vermont’s politics apart from nearly every other state in the nation. It’s the home of a vibrant Progressive Party, which pulls Democrats to the left and can occasionally affect the outcome of races in the state. Already this summer, the Progressives were meeting with the Democratic contenders with a list of policy positions they considered vital to attaining the Progressives’ support. In the aftermath Douglas’ decision, the Progressives are now considering running their own gubernatorial candidate, which could make this race much more competitive.

Castleton: Shumlin continues to have huge advantage over Brock, 60-27% (8/22/12)
Castleton/WCAX: Shumlin holds wide lead over Brock, 60-27% (5/22/12)
Rasmussen: Shumlin holds narrow lead over Dubie, 50-45% (10/28/10)
VPR-Vermont Poll(Mason-Dixon): Race a dead heat, Dubie 44%, Shumlin 43% (10/13/10)
Rasmussen: Shumlin holds slight lead over Dubie (9/13/10)
Rasmussen: Dubie remains ahead of all five Dems (6/17/10)
Rasmussen: Dubie has strong leads over all potential Dems (3/18/10)
Research 2000: Dubie could beat most Dems (2/17/10)

Local Blogs:
Vermont News Guy
Vermont Tiger

State Resources:
Vermont Elections Division