U.S. Rep. Peter Welch has easily won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held for the past 48 years by Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is retiring in January.
With just 7 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Welch, who led his closet competitor by more than 70 percentage points. Welch will run against Republican candidate retired U.S. Army officer Gerald Malloy, who defeated Vermont’s former U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan.
In another early call, Gov. Phil Scott has won the Republican nomination for governor. Scott, who is seeking a fourth term in Montpelier, had almost 72 percent of the voter, versus 18 percent for landscaping contractor Stephen Bellow.
Scott will face activist Brenda Siegel, the only Democrat on the primary ballot for governor, in November.
Four Democrats and two Republicans are vying for nominations as lieutenant governor, including Democratic former Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman.
Democrats are also picking the party’s candidates for Attorney General and Secretary of State. Current Attorney General TJ Donovan is not seeking reelection, and Secretary of State Jim Condos will retire when his current term ends in January.
Former Donovan Chief of Staff Charity Clark defeated Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault in the race for the Attorney General nomination.
Democrats Chris Winters, John Odum and Sarah Copeland Hanzas are seeking the nomination for Secretary of State.
Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George held off primary challenger Ted Kenney, a former member of Attorney General TJ Donvan’s staff. The two have sparred over George‘s track record as a prosecutor. Kenney has secured endorsements from the Burlington Police Officers Union, the Vermont Trooper Association and other law enforcement groups.
Tuesday’s primary also features dozens of State House and Senate races, as well as local elections in Addison, Chittenden, Bennington, Windsor and Caledonia counties.