A 19-year-old Montpelier activist will become Washington County’s next high bailiff. Asa Skinder, a Middlebury College sophomore who is working while waiting for in-person classes to resume, defeated incumbent four-term high bailiff Marc Poulin 17,539-13,311 on Tuesday.
Skinder, who ran for the unpaid, seldom-utilized position when he saw that no Democrat or Progressive was listed on the primary ballot, based his campaign on using the office to further discussion of community policing in the wake of the killing of Black men by police and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Under state statute, the high bailiff’s role is to arrest the county sheriff, if that were to become necessary, and to step in to run the Washington County Sheriff’s Department if the elected sheriff is arrested, dies, or resigns.
Poulin, a lieutenant with the sheriff’s department, held the high bailiff position for four terms. He says the position has a very narrow definition and is not an oversight position for the sheriff.
Skinder won in 16 of Washington County’s 20 towns, losing only in Barre, Barre Town, Berlin and Northfield. Skinder received 49.8 percent of the vote to Poulin’s 37.8.
In other races, maybe it was a referendum on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic but Montpelier voters backed Gov. Phil Scott for the first time in the Republican’s three gubernatorial victories.
Scott received 2,723 votes to 2,264 for Progressive/Democrat Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman. The 52 percent to 44 percent margin was the first time Montpelier backed Scott over his Democratic challenger. In Scott’s first race in 2016, Democrat Sue Minter defeated Scott in Montpelier 3,172-1,515. In 2018, Democrats Christine Hallquist topped Scott 2,758-1,596.
The virus had a powerful impact on the way Montpelier voters cast their ballots as 4,133 voted early, by mail, dropbox or early in-person methods, and only 1,023 went to the polls on Election Day. These results are unofficial but the total of 5,156 is certain to be a record turnout in the city.
Scott’s chosen running mate Scott Milne did not pick up the governor’s coat tails, however, as Democrat Molly Gray crushed the Pomfret businessman 3,589-1,157 in the race for lieutenant governor.
Incumbents coasted to victory in races for state representative and state senator. Mary Hooper and Warren Kitzmiller will again represent Montpelier in the House, while Sens. Ann Cummings, Andrew Perchlik and Anthony Pollina were reelected to the Senate.
At the top of the ballot, former Vice President Joe Biden trounced President Donald Trump 4,576-468 among city voters.
Here are the unofficial results in Montpelier:
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