Gov. Phil Scott won every single town in Rutland County.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., almost matched that feat, but was edged out by Republican Lawrence Zupan in Mount Tabor (31-30) and Clarendon (519-440). Clarendon also kept Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., from a clean sweep, as the only town in the county to go for Republican challenger Anya Tynio (479-473).
The race for Rutland County’s three state Senate seats — in which Republicans Sen. Brian Collamore and James McNeil won alongside Democrat Cheryl Hooker, leaving behind Democrats Greg Cox and Scott Garren as well as Republican Ed Larson — was far less monolithic.
The Republican primary, in which five candidates vied for the three spots on the ballot, seemed to point to a division between the city and the outlying towns when Larson, a retired police officer and former Rutland City alderman, only managed to edge out Poultney Selectman Terry Williams because Larson’s lead in the city made up for Williams’ advantage in the rest of the county.
The general election painted a much more complicated picture. Larson came in fifth in the city, about 150 votes behind Cox, a farmer from West Rutland and president of the Vermont Farmers Food Center. Larson outperformed Cox in the rest of the county, but failed to pick up enough votes to make it past fourth place.
Larson and Cox could not be immediately reached Wednesday.
Collamore, the sole incumbent, won the most towns of the six candidates and was in the top three in every town that wasn’t swept by the Democrats. McNeil, co-owner of McNeil and Reedy, was in the top three almost as consistently as Collamore and even outpaced his fellow Republican here and there.
Hooker, a retired teacher who has served in both houses of the Legislature, won the city and performed well enough in the county that she still would have been in the top three even without her early lead. She came in second overall, winning Brandon, Wallingford, Killington, Sudbury and Tinmouth in addition to the city.
Several towns turned in votes along party lines. Rutland Town, Pittsford, Clarendon, Castleton, Fair Haven, Mendon, Danby, Mount Tabor, Wells and Ira all went for Collamore, McNeil and Larson, though not necessarily in that order. Democratic sweeps were rarer and confined to smaller towns — Pittsfield, Sudbury, Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Shrewsbury.
Cox won Poultney, Pittsfield, Middletown Springs and Pawlet, but only managed third place in his hometown of West Rutland, outpaced by Collamore and McNeil.
Garren, who had the least name recognition on the ballot, won his hometown of Shrewsbury, but otherwise trailed. In the other towns the Democrats swept, he came in third. In the rest of the towns he was almost always in last place.
“It was very evident, when I was out canvassing and honking and waving with Cheryl and Greg — lots of people were smiling and waving and recognizing them,” Garren said.
Collamore said the result showed the voters’ faith in him and otherwise said a leftward shift was evident. McNeil said he thought the results had little to do with geography or party politics.
“I think Rutland County voted for experience,” McNeil said. “Brian Collamore — four years experience. I had five years in the House and Cheryl had House and Senate experience.”
Hooker said experience was probably a factor, but also offered her own take on the result.
“I think people perhaps were looking for change, for diversity in the delegation as far as gender and certainly some diversity as far as party,” she said.