Rep. Peter Welch, Gov. Phil Scott Beat Challengers in Vermont Primary

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Republican Gov. Phil Scott defeated their opponents in Tuesday's primary election

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One of Vermont's most popular elected officials, Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, defeated a single opponent Tuesday in the state's primary election.

Welch, 73, who has served in Congress since 2007, defeated activist Ralph "Carajou" Corbo, 63, of Wallingford. Corbo also sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott also won the Republican nomination to seek his third term as the state's top elected official, defeating four little-known Republican challengers in the primary.

Scott didn't hire staff or actively campaign during the primary, citing the coronavirus.

Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman is going to be seeking to oust incumbent GOP Gov. Phil Scott in the November General Election. During Tuesday's Vermont primary, Zuckerman defeated former Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe and two lesser known candidates to win the party's gubernatorial nomination.

The 48-year-old Zuckerman, a Hinesburg farmer, says he was motivated to run by what he calls "the imperative nature of the climate crisis." Zuckerman says that he thinks Scott is "a really admirable person," but that he hasn't been really visionary on how to address these issues.

During his years in the House, Welch has consistently been one of Vermont's top statewide vote-getters.

In 2018, Welch received just under 68% of the vote. In 2016, he won just under 90% of the vote.

Welch, Vermont's at-large member of Congress, said he has more energy for the job than he's ever had as the country faces the "extraordinary challenges" of the coronavirus pandemic and what Welch described as President Donald Trump's threat to democracy and issues of racial justice.

As of mid-evening Tuesday, the gap between the four Republicans seeking to challenge Welch — Miriam Berry, of Essex; Jimmy Rodriguez, of Montpelier; Justin Tuthill, of Pomfret; and Anya Tynio, of Charleston — was too close to call. Chris Brimmer, of Ryegate, and Cris Erickson, of Chester, are running as Progressives.

Corbo, 63, said he ran for Congress and also for governor after trying to get younger people to run for office, but during the pandemic, he wasn't getting their commitment so he decided to run himself.

Primary Day in the state of Vermont is Tuesday but even before the polls open, many voters have already cast ballots through a vote-by-mail option.

A record number of more than 150,000 Vermont voters requested early or absentee ballots ahead of Tuesday's balloting under a special system set up to encourage safe voting during the coronavirus pandemic, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos said on Monday.

To be counted in the primary, all ballots must have arrived at voters' town or city clerk's before 7 p.m. Tuesday, when the polls closed. Vermonters can also cast ballots traditionally.

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