Voters in deep blue Vermont elected Republican Gov. Phil Scott for his fourth two-year term as the state’s top leader.
Scott, 64, defeated Democrat Brenda Siegel and three independent candidates.
Since becoming governor in 2017, Scott said his focus has been on minimizing the tax burden, making sure vulnerable Vermonters are helped and boosting the economy. On Tuesday night, he thanked supporters and staff and said the work is ongoing.
“So we must be willing to do the hard work to level the playing field so we can help the communities that need us most,” he said in a victory speech.
Despite being a Republican, Scott was a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump and voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Along with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan — neither of whom is seeking re-election in 2022 — Scott has often been singled out in national politics as one of the Republicans not supported by the Make American Great Again -Version of the party that has done this has emerged in recent years.
He guided Vermont through the COVID-19 pandemic, earning high marks for helping the state avoid some of the harsh effects other states were feeling.
Scott is a tax conservative who is reluctant to raise taxes or impose more of what he sees as onerous regulations that limit Vermont’s economic opportunities. The state is trying to counter a demographic crisis that has lost young people over the years.
But Scott has also pushed to make Vermont more affordable and protect the vulnerable through efforts like fighting the opioid epidemic, strengthening the mental health system and championing environmental protection. He has said he also wants to restore confidence in government.
Siegel, speaking at the Democratic Party’s campaign rally in Burlington on Tuesday night, said the campaign gave her an opportunity to focus on issues important to her, such as ensuring Vermonters have decent housing and fighting opioid addiction.
“At some point during this campaign, I turned to my team and said, ‘Let’s fight like hell to win. But let’s also fight like hell to win on the issues because losing on the issues is not an option for me,” she said.
The progressive activist said her experiences as a small business owner and low-income single mother give her a perspective that Vermont politics lacks.
Follow AP’s coverage of the election at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. Cash https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.