Candidates face off in redrawn districts
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | June 15,2012
Former legislative colleagues will face off in a redrawn House district.
Dennis Devereux and Eldred French are competing for the sole seat in the newly formed Rutland-Windsor District 2, which is made up of Ludlow, Mount Holly and Shrewsbury.
French, a Democrat, represented the former Rutland District 3, made up of Wallingford, Tinmouth and Shrewsbury. Devereux, a Republican, represented the former Rutland-Windsor District 1, made up of Mount Holly, Ludlow and Plymouth. Reapportionment put the two on a collision course.
Meanwhile, Rutland Town’s ballot is blank. Republican Rep. James McNeil said he is not running again and the town clerk’s office reported Thursday afternoon that nobody had filed a petition to take his place.
“I’m very busy here at the store,” McNeil said from his city clothing shop Thursday. “My family comes first. I’d like to be able to head down and visit my grandson and daughter in the winter months.”
McNeil, who has held the position for five years, said he often works seven days a week. He said he made his decision shortly after the session concluded.
“It was, not sleepless nights, but I gave it some decent thought,” he said. It’s just not working. I think if I were semi-retired or retired, it would be different.”
Rutland District 3’s ballot looked momentarily like it could wind up short a candidate when Rep. Robert Helm, R-Castleton, turned in an incorrectly labeled petition. Helm’s petition referred to Rutland District 2, which is how Castleton, Fair Haven, Hubbardton and West Haven were referred to when he was last up for re-election in 2010.
Castleton Town Clerk Katy Thornblade said late Thursday afternoon that she was waiting to hear whether the error would invalidate the petition, but that in any case Helm would have three days to submit a corrected petition. The petition requires 50 signatures.
Thornblade said Helm’s fellow Republican incumbent in the two-seat district, William Canfield, got his petition in and nobody filed to challenge the duo.
Three of four wards are contested in the city.
With Democratic incumbent Gale Courcelle stepping aside, Republican Doug Gage and Democrat Sherri-Durgin Campbell are vying for the seat in Rutland District 5-4. Republican John Mattison will challenge Rep. Herb Russell, D-Rutland, in district 5-3 while Republican Larry Cupoli is challenging Rep. Margaret Andrews, D-Rutland, in district 5-2.
Rep. Peter Fagan, R-Rutland, is unopposed in district 5-1.
The surrounding towns will see a handful of races.
Rutland District 2, which includes Clarendon, Proctor, Wallingford, West Rutland and part of Tinmouth, has four candidates for its two house seats. Republican Tom Burditt and Democrat Dave Potter, the incumbents, are joined on the ticket by Ken Fredette, a Democrat, and Glen Eno, a Republican.
Rutland District 6, which includes Brandon, Pittsford and Sudbury, is looking at a three-way race for two seats. Incumbent Republican Charles “Butch” Shaw (who served in the single-seat Pittsford district before it was merged with Brandon’s) is on the ballot with fellow Republican Seth Hopkins and Democrat Stephen Carr.
Joe Acinapura, the Republican who held Brandon’s lone seat before the merger, is not running.
In Rutland-Windsor District 1, Democrat Anne Gallivan is challenging Rep. James Echkard, R-Chittenden. The district includes Chittenden, Killington, Mendon and Bridgewater.
Rep. John Malcolm, D-Pawlet, faces a challenge from independent Estella Leach in Rutland-Bennington District 1. The district also includes Middleton Springs, Wells, Rupert and part of Tinmouth.
Rutland County’s three senators — Republicans Kevin Mullin and Margaret Flory and Democrat William Carris — are running unopposed. The Rutland County Senate district once again includes Brandon.
Elsewhere, the Shoreham town clerk reported nobody had filed to challenge independent representative Will Stevens in Addison-Rutland District 1, which also includes Benson, Orwell and Whiting. Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, is unopposed in the Bennington-Rutland district, which also includes Danby, Landgrove, Mount Tabor and Peru.
Rep. Andrew Donaghy, R-Poultney, is unopposed in Rutland District 1, which also includes Ira. Rep. Sandy Haas, D-Rochester, is running unopposed in Windsor-Rutland District 1, which also includes Pittsfield, Bethel and Stockbridge.