BENNINGTON — With all 16 district towns reporting election results, James Gulley is the unofficial winner of Bennington’s sheriff’s race.

Gulley, a Democrat who won the party’s primary in August, took an early and significant lead on election night in the three-way race for sheriff, and Wednesday morning was the clear winner.

Republican Joel Howard of Pownal, Independent Beau Alexander of Shaftsbury and Gulley of Bennington were seeking to replace incumbent Sheriff Chad Schmidt. As of Wednesday morning, Gulley had 8,465 votes, according to the secretary of state’s website, compared with 5,560 for Howard and 1,226 for Alexander.

“It is with immense gratitude that I thank the voters of Bennington County for electing me as their next sheriff,” Gulley said. “Your support, votes, and efforts during my campaign are deeply appreciated. I am proud and honored to have you join me in bringing my vision of the Bennington County Sheriff’s Department to the organization and to the county.”

He added, “I look forward to leading change that will provide our communities with the safety, protection and quality of life they deserve through organized and collaborative efforts. media and at community events, and to those who worked on my campaign, thank you from the bottom of my heart. »

For Gulley and Alexander, the 2020 race is their second bid for the job. They finished second and third behind Schmidt, respectively, in the November 2020 election. Howard, a lieutenant with the county sheriff’s department, was making his first bid for the top spot.


In one of the tightest races that could go through to a recount, incumbent Rep. Nelson Brownell, D-Pownal, led Republican challenger Bruce Busa, of Readsboro, on Wednesday by just 14 votes, 953 to 939 in the district of Bennington-1.

Busa reportedly contacted House District town clerks to inquire about a recount, but could not be reached on Wednesday for confirmation.

Brownell said he wasn’t surprised by Busa’s performance.

“He campaigned heavily,” he said. “The Republican Party emailed everywhere.”

Holder said he hadn’t heard if Busa had officially requested a recount, but added: “It’s his right.”

Brownell said he was happy with the general level of voting.

“I think everyone came out and voted; not just Democrats and Republicans — everyone’s out,” he said. “I was happy to see the turnout. That’s what it’s about; getting people to participate… I enjoyed it and thank you all for voting.

Bennington-1 is also a newly created district, which lost some voters to Bennington-5, but now includes Woodford, Readsboro, Stamford and Searsburg, the latter three of which were added during redistribution.


In the closely watched three-way rematch in the Bennington-5 House District, incumbent Mary Morrissey, a Republican, retained her legislative seat, but Democrat Michael Nigro lost to challenger and former Rep. Jim Carroll. Carroll, who sits on the Select Board, finished third in the race for the district’s two seats in 2020.

Totals on the state website, along with all sections of the district report, showed Morrissey with 1,859 votes to Carroll’s 1,427 and Nigro’s 1,226.

Following the redistribution of districts this year to reflect changes to the 2020 Federal Census, Bennington-5 became a new district which also includes a section of North East Pownal.

“I’m very happy to be back at Montpellier,” Carroll said on Tuesday night. “I worked very hard for Bennington and my constituents, and every day I brought Bennington with me to Montpelier. And I will do it again.

“It was a tight race two years ago, and I expected it to be a tight race again, so I’m definitely disappointed but I’m not surprised, not shocked,” Nigro said Wednesday. “I certainly wish good luck to Mary and Jim, obviously two long-serving civil servants. I’m confident Bennington will be in good hands.”

“You know, I’m grateful and honored for the support of this community over the years,” Morrissey said. “The community has reached out and supported me. I have tried very hard to represent our community…I think the understanding with my constituents is that I will always work very hard for them. I will continue to work hard and they can always contact me for help in resolving issues.


In the Bennington-3 district, including Shaftsbury, part of Sunderland and Glastenbury, incumbent Democratic Representative David Durfee defeated Republican Victor Harwood Jr. in a rematch of the 2020 race. Both live in Shaftsbury .

Durfee held a significant lead coming out of Shaftsbury and received 1,179 district-wide votes to Harwood’s 731, according to results posted Tuesday night on the state’s website.

“I’ve spent a lot of time going door to door over the past six weeks, listening to constituents,” Durfee said, “and I think it’s been helpful for me to get in touch with some new residents, as well as with new voters.

This will be his third term in the Legislative Assembly.

“I think we had a civil campaign all around, which focused on the issues,” Durfee said, adding that some voters at the polls had commented on that.

“People have spoken,” Harwood said, “and I can accept that.”

He said he also aims to keep conversations with Durfee focused on the issues.

“I’m not surprised,” Harwood said. “You give it a shot. I guess one of the things about the Republican Party is that there were so many races without Republicans in contention. I would like people to step in, and you know I feel good because I did.

Representatives Timothy Corcoran II and Dane Whitman, both Bennington Democrats, are not opposed to re-election in Bennington-2 District.

In another county race, Barrister Lon McClintock, of Shaftsbury, was unopposed in seeking to replace probate Judge D. Justine Scanlon, who did not seek re-election.


Outside the River Street fire station, Bennington voter John Getchell was one of those who said the state’s proposed constitutional changes establishing a right to personal reproductive autonomy for women and specifically prohibiting slavery and indentured servitude provided motivation to vote.

Both passed to Bennington with significant margins.

Of the races contested, Getchell said, “Everything seems pretty straightforward to me here in Vermont State. I mean, I think the outcome of this election cycle as a whole will probably be a [expletive]-To display. I am staunchly liberal-progressive in my politics, and as they say, the party in power in the presidency tends to lose seats in Congress. The nature of the beast.

He added: “It worries me that a lot of people don’t understand the importance of voting. Many young people see no value in it and feel completely disenfranchised.