By JOHN FLOWERS
VERGENNES — Incumbent Rep. Greg Clark, R-Vergennes, and former Little City mayor Kitty Oxholm emerged victorious on Tuesday in a three-way Republican primary that determined who will move on in the race for the Addison-3 district’s two Vermont House seats.
Addison-3 featured the only local contested race on the Sept. 12 primary ballot, but two successful write-in campaigns will add some additional names to the Nov. 7 ballot.
Bristol Republican Nathan Fitzgerald earned 42 write-in tallies to qualify as a late entry into the Addison-4 House race. Fitzgerald ran unsuccessfully in 2004 for one of the two seats in the district, which includes the towns of Bristol, Lincoln, Starksboro and Monkton. Fitzgerald now joins a field of candidates that includes fellow Republican Barb Rainville of Lincoln; incumbent Rep. Mike Fisher, D-Lincoln; and incumbent Rep. Dave Sharpe, D-Bristol.
Fitzgerald could not be reached at press time.
Meanwhile, Democrats Betsy Gossens of Salisbury and Craig Bingham of Middlebury each collected more than 100 write-in votes in a contest to find a second Democrat to run for two available spots as Addison County assistant judge. As the Addison Independent went to press, it remained uncertain whether Gossens or Bingham had won the right to join fellow Democrat Jeffrey McDonough on the Nov. 7 ballot. Two Democrats will face incumbent Assistant Judge Frank Broughton, a Middlebury Republican. The other incumbent side judge, Waltham Republican Wayne Heath, died on Sept. 4.
All of Tuesday’s primary ballots are due to be certified at the Addison County Courthouse this Friday, Sept. 15.
There was no lingering suspense in the Addison-3 GOP House primary, however, as Clark and Oxholm scored clear victories in the district that includes Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton, Vergennes and Waltham.
Clark, a two-term incumbent, finished on top with 635 tallies, besting his opponents in all five towns.
Oxholm, a longtime civic leader in Vergennes mounting her first bid for the House, finished second with 405 votes.
Former House Rep. Tom McGrath of Ferrisburgh finished third, and out of the running, with 342 tallies. McGrath edged Oxholm in his hometown of Ferrisburgh and in Waltham, but Oxholm scored wide enough margins of victory in Vergennes, Panton and Addison to score her win over McGrath.
“My only disappointment was the turnout,” said McGrath, who has not ruled out re-entering the race this November as an independent. McGrath noted he only lost by 63 votes, a margin that he believes could be overcome with a larger turnout in the general election.
“I would have to say I’m considering (a run as an independent),” McGrath said on Wednesday. “You never close doors.”
Oxholm could not be reached for comment as the Addison Independent went to press.
Clark, meanwhile, was pleased with his showing.
“I’m humbled and pleased by the support; I always am,” Clark said. “I’m looking forward to a strong race in November.”
That Addison-3 House race on Nov. 7 will now feature Oxholm, Clark, Democrat Liz Markowski of Ferrisburgh, Democrat Diane Lanpher of Vergennes, and Progressive April Jin, the current mayor of Vergennes.