NEWPORT, VT - Several races in the Northeast Kingdom saw candidates neck and neck, but late into the night Tuesday the winners inched ahead near the finish line.
It was a tight race for the Orleans-Essex Senate seat. Long-time senator Vincent Illuzzi, a Republican, decided to seek the office of Vermont State Auditor, which opened up a senate seat in the district. When the numbers first started coming in, incumbent Sen. Robert (Bobby) Starr, a Democrat from North Troy, was trailing all four candidates, but he ended up as the top vote-getter with 8788 votes, according to the unofficial Vermont Secretary of State page.
The second senate seat up for grabs was close until the very end when John Rodgers, a Democrat from Glover, squeaked past former Orleans 1 Rep. Robert (Bob) Lewis, a Republican, who had held a tight lead for most of the evening. Unofficial results have Rodgers winning by 273 votes â€“ 7830 to 7557. Republican Jay Dudley of Orleans trailed in fourth with 4276.
Al tallies are UNOFFICIAL.
The Vermont House Representatives for Orleans 1 are incumbent Lynn Batchelor and Loren Shaw, both Republican. The two did not face opponents.
Another photo finish race occurred in the Orleans-Lamoille district. Incumbent Mark Higley, a Republican, retained his seat and prevailed over Katherine Sims, a Progressive by 33 votes with 920 to 887.
Sims held the lead for most of the evening as the votes poured in from polling places, but results from Westfield and Lowell pushed Higley ahead.
Both incumbents held their seats in the Orleans 2 House race. Republicans Duncan Kilmartin and Mike Marcotte swept by two independent challengers, Newport City Council member Tim DelaBurere and Newport City Mayor Paul Monette. Marcotte had 1,569 votes, Kilmartin 1,143, delaBurere acquired 972 votes, and Monette had 971 votes, according to the unofficial results.
Vince Illuzzi lost his bid for state auditor to Democrat Doug Hoffer in a close race of 101,259 to 94,712. Third party candidate Jerry Levy pulled in 7,029 votes.