While it has not been an ideal year and we had mixed results nationally and in Vermont, we want to take a moment to celebrate Tuesday’s victories and all of the work that helped to get us here. We are so thankful to all our supporters, members and endorsed candidates who have put long and hard hours into this election and more recently into the democracy defense preparations. As we wait for more clarity on the presidential election, and certain key state races, we want to share a few highlights from Tuesday’s races and our next steps for healing our communities.

Trump is defeated in Vermont! As we write this, the outlook is good that Trump will be defeated nationally, but it may be some time before we know for certain. We do know that all of our hard work paid off. Only three minutes after the polls closed, Vermont was first in the nation once again to report a Trump defeat.

We lost some key races but gained new champions down ballot. Governor Phil Scott has presented major obstacles to progress in our state, but we are prepared to meet this challenge in his upcoming term. We have the deepest gratitude for Lt. Governor and RAD member David Zuckerman, who ran a strong uphill campaign, and we know he will keep building the movement with us.

Since 2016, the number of movement candidates in our states has steadily increased at every level. Out of the 67 candidates we endorsed in Vermont, 50 won their races! Building majorities that allow us to go on the offensive for human rights and democracy is key to going forward, but it is critical to elect true movement champions and we are thrilled to announce the following victories:

US House of Representatives
Peter Welch

Vermont Lieutenant Governor
Molly Gray

Secretary of State
Jim Condos

State Treasurer
Beth Pearce

Auditor
Doug Hoffer

ADDISON COUNTY

High Bailiff
Dave Silberman

State Senate
Ruth Hardy

State Representative
Mari Cordes (Addison 4)

BENNINGTON COUNTY

State Representative
Dane Whitman (Bennington 2-1)

CHITTENDEN COUNTY

State Senator
Chris Pearson
Kesha Ram
Michael Sirotkin
Philip Baruth

State Representative
Michael Yantachka (Chittenden 4-1)
Bill Lippert (Chittenden 4-2)
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (Chittenden 6-2)
Brian Cina (Chittenden 6-4)
Selene Colburn (Chittenden 6-4)
Tiff Bluemle (Chittenden 6-5)
Gabrielle Stebbins (Chittenden 6-5)
Barbara Rachelson (Chittenden 6-6)
Taylor Small (Chittenden 6-7)
Tanya Vyhovsky (Chittenden 8-1)

FRANKLIN COUNTY

State Representative
Mike McCarthy (Franklin 3-1)

NORTHEAST KINGDOM

State Representative
Chip Troiano (Caledonia 2)
Katherine Sims (Orleans-Caledonia)

ORANGE COUNTY

State Representative
Sarah Copeland Hanzas (Orange 2)

RUTLAND COUNTY

State Senator
Cheryl Hooker

State Representative
Mary Howard (Rutland 5-3)
Stephanie Jerome (Rutland 6)

WASHINGTON COUNTY & LAMOILLE COUNTY

State Senator
Andrew Perchlik
Anthony Pollina

State Representative
Avram Patt (Lamoille-Washington)
David Yacovone (Lamoille-Washington)
Kate Donnally (Lamoille 2)
Peter D. Anthony (Washington 3)
Maxine Grad (Washington 7)

WINDHAM COUNTY

State Senator
Becca Balint
Jeanette White

State Representative
Emilie Kornheiser (Windham 2-1)
Mollie S. Burke (Windham 2-2)
Michelle Bos-Lun (Windham 4)
Mike Mrowicki (Windham 4)

WINDSOR COUNTY

State Representative
Jim Masland (Windsor-Orange 2)
Elizabeth Burrows (Windsor 1)
Logan Nicoll (Windsor 2-1)
Heather Surprenant (Windsor 4-1)
Kevin “Coach” Christie (Windsor 4-2)
Becca White (Windsor 4-2)
Kirk White (Windsor-Rutland)

The candidates we endorse run for office not only to represent their communities, but to champion a movement for change. These candidates are building grassroots power that goes far beyond one election, and helps to pave the way for future movement candidates. This year, we have much gratitude for all the movement candidates who ran great campaigns but came up short in their races. We could not do this work without you. Long time RAD leader Jubilee McGill nearly defeated a 5-term incumbent. We also have great appreciation for Jo Sabel Courtney, Martha Allen, Emily Hecker, Kate MacLean and Robin Chestnut-Tangerman, who came so close and who we know will continue to be leaders in our movement.

Highlights

  • Molly Gray became the first woman to be elected Lt. Governor in over two decades.
  • Kesha Ram became the first woman of color elected to the Vermont Senate.
  • Tanya Vyhovsky, a core RAD leader, won a seat that had been held by a Republican for three decades.
  • In Bennington, RAD member Dane Whitman won a tight race.
  • Taylor Small, another RAD champion, became the first elected openly transgender VT Legislator.
  • Many more strong progressive women candidates won seats, including Katherine Sims, Heather Surprenant, Elizabeth Burrows, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, Kate Donnally, Tiff Bluemle and Gabrielle Stebbins.
  • A number of our RAD champion incumbents also won contested races, including RAD co-founder Mari Cordes, Mary Howard, Stephanie Jerome, and Kevin “Coach” Christie, who helps lead the Social Equity Caucus.

NEXT STEPS

Supporting these leaders: Rights & Democracy has also learned that it is not enough to help get good people elected –  we need to invest in developing their leadership and set them up to thrive. In our current political climate, a major priority is to help our elected officials and leaders in the public eye have security resources to ensure the safety of themselves and their families. We are raising money to make sure we have the resources to support the safety and security of everyone standing up in defense of our democracy.

Defending our democracy: It will likely be some time before we know the final results of the presidential election. It may be that democracy defense work is not as necessary if it becomes clear that Trump has been defeated. Regardless, the damage the Trump administration has done will take years to undo even if his presidency comes to an end this January. Trump is also a symptom of much larger systemic ills underlying our country, and in any outcome, we have a lot of work ahead of us. We need to make deep transformational change to heal our communities and begin to move toward a society, economy and government centered on justice and equity for everyone. Sign up as a Democracy Defender.

Healing our communities and pushing for bold solutions: This moment has been a wake up call for us to demand the change our collective future needs. In communities across the country, we have built a durable network of grassroots organizations that are pushing for bold policies to build a real democracy, decarbonize our economy, create equitable jobs programs, and protect our environment. This work includes fighting for policy change on every level – federally, with our partners at People’s Action and the Center For Popular Democracy; regionally, with our Renew New England Alliance; on a state level with our Vermont and New Hampshire coalition partners; and locally, with our chapters winning municipal change. Sign up here to help in this work and RSVP for our virtual December 5th Membership Assembly with special guests including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.