NEAL P. GOSWAMI
BENNINGTON -- Attorney General William Sorrell edged his primary opponent TJ Donovan in Bennington by 25 votes Tuesday, but that contested race -- one of just two on local ballots -- was not enough to drive many voters to the polls.
Just 735 voters made their way to the polls Tuesday in Bennington and North Bennington, according to Bennington Town Clerk. With more than 9,000 registered voters in Bennington alone, turnout was well below 10 percent.
Sorrell, a 15-year incumbent, had been engaged with Donovan, the Chittenden County state's attorney, for several months. Sorrell received 368 votes combined in Bennington and North Bennington to Donovan's 343.
In Manchester, Donovan nabbed 78 votes to Sorrell's 67. Just 206 of Manchester's 3,400 voters turned out on Tuesday, according to numbers provided by the town clerk's office.
In Pownal, Sorrell beat Donovan 88 to 36. And in Winhall, he bested Donovan by one vote, 20 to 19.
There was just one contested race on the Republican ballot, too. Two Republicans, John MacGovern and H. Brooke Paige, were vying for the GOP nomination to face off against independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in November. In Bennington and North Bennington, MacGovern edged out Paige by a 44 to 13 tally.
In Manchester, MacGovern received 42 votes to Paige's 9. In Pownal, MacGovern was on top 20 to 4, and in Winhall, 11 to 3.
Corcoran said he, like clerks across the state, expected a low voter turnout. That's exactly what they got.
"Very low," he said. "You don't know what to expect. Primaries are generally low, and you had no big governor's race like you had two years ago."
Local candidates for the House and Senate were on the ballots as well. None of those races were contested, however, and all will appear on the ballot in November.
Despite the primary having no bearing on his race, Warren Roaf, a candidate for the House in Bennington's 2-1 House district, spent much of the day outside the polling location in Bennington greeting voters.
"It's part of the process. I like to experience the process," Roaf said.
Roaf said he hoped his presence would help convince some voters vote for him, especially in November.
"I think most people come knowing who they're going to vote for. But, you get to see people and get their face out there," he said.
Roaf received 23 votes on the Republican ballot. Democratic incumbent Reps. Timothy Corcoran II and Brian Campion received 471 and 363 votes, respectively.
Vermont has an open primary that allows voters to choose one ballot from the three major parties, including the Progressive Party.
In Bennington's 2-2 district, Republican Rep. Mary Morrissey received 43 vote. Democratic Rep. Anne Mook received 163 votes, while Democratic newcomer Dale Gerity tallied 147 votes.
Bennington County Democratic Sens. Dick Sears and Robert Hartwell received 645 and 486 votes, respectively.