Election ’22 Results
Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV)-endorsed candidates won a decisive majority (86%) of their races on Election Day, including 4 statewide officers, 20 state senators, and 89 state representatives. Voters made a clear statement by overwhelmingly electing candidates who pledged to take strong action on climate change and a healthy environment for all.
Electing Environmental Allies
Environmentally-focused campaigns were run in some of the most tightly contested House and Senate races. These efforts helped support a slate of candidates who successfully flipped open seats from anti-environment to pro-environment lawmakers, defended vulnerable environmental allies, and unseated incumbents with weak environmental voting records.
Specific political action committee activities to help elect pro-environment candidates included reaching as many voters as possible by: sending approximately 71,000 mail pieces, making 5,100 phone calls, knocking on more than 400 doors, running digital advertising garnering over 1.2 million views, and running radio ads that reached 140,000 listeners.
In the Vermont Legislature, 86% of VCV-endorsed candidates won their races. For the full list of candidates VCV endorsed, as well as election outcomes, click here. Of note, climate champions picked up several seats. A few highlights include Robin Chesnut-Tangerman taking back his seat from Sally Achey in Rutland-Bennington; Carl Demrow regaining his seat after redistricting in Orange-1; and Jubilee McGill winning an open seat in Addison-5, replacing retiring Rep. Harvey Smith.
With redistricting, some of our endorsed incumbents overcame difficult challenges to maintain their seats. Katherine Sims was re-elected for a second term against long-time fellow incumbent Vicky Strong in an all-new district, Orleans-4. Mark MacDonald handily won against John Klar in a redrawn Orange County Senate district.
And some races have come down to just a handful of votes. As of today’s unofficial results, Josie Leavitt appears on track to win back a seat that former Speaker of the House, Mitzi Johnson, lost in 2020 in Grand Isle-Chittenden. In an even closer race, former Rep. Dave Potter currently appears to be just shy of the votes needed to win back his seat in Rutland-2. But we’ll keep an eye on these races as official tallies are submitted, and in case there are any recounts.
At the statewide level, environmental candidates scored big. Lieutenant Governor candidate David Zuckerman will return to his post after stepping down to run for Governor in 2020. With many statewide positions open this year, those who have vocally championed climate action were elected, including Sarah Copeland-Hanzas for Secretary of State, Mike Pieciak for State Treasurer, and Charity Clark for Attorney General (Vermont’s first female candidate to be elected to this role).
We’re also glad to note that Vermonters elected a record number of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) legislators, as well as a growing number of out LGBTQ+ lawmakers. Having a legislature that better represents Vermonters will benefit our state in so many ways.
While Vermonters re-elected the Governor, this was no surprise – for decades, Vermonters have reliably re-elected incumbent governors. But despite Scott’s individual popularity, voters showed strong support in all corners of the state for environmental progress by electing overwhelming majorities of candidates in the House and Senate who pledged to take action on the intensifying climate crisis and build a viable, resilient economy and landscape.
Of further note, Vermonters voted decisively to adopt two amendments to the Vermont Constitution: Proposition 2, which eliminates exceptions to our state’s ban on slavery; and Proposition 5, which will protect every person’s right to make their own reproductive decisions.
As we head into 2023, with strong majorities of pro-environment lawmakers in both the House and Senate, Vermont has the opportunity to make meaningful progress on a range of environmental priorities this coming legislative session. These new and incumbent lawmakers will be essential to tackling climate change, addressing environmental justice, ensuring clean water for all, and taking on other priorities at the scope and scale these challenges demand — which will be particularly important at a time when we’re likely to have gridlock at the federal level.
VCV thanks every candidate who stepped up to run, and congratulates all of the winners. We look forward to working together in the coming legislative session to ensure all Vermonters have access to clean water, affordable and accessible housing, and cleaner heat, electricity, and transportation options. Together we can work to protect and value the landscape that makes Vermont such a special place.
Thank YOU for voting, for getting out and knocking on doors and making phone calls, and for your support electing this strong slate of environmental lawmakers. We couldn’t do this work without you!
Lauren Hierl, Executive Director
Justin Marsh, Political Outreach Director
Vermont Conservation Voters