hill country observerThe independent newspaper of eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires


News & Issues October 2020




Here are the candidates and referendum questions on ballots for the Nov. 3 federal and state elections across the region. Because of space limitations, uncontested races are not included. A guide to political party abbreviations is at right. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk (*).




President and Vice President
Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris (D)
Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker (GR)
Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy Cohen (L)
* Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R)


* Edward J. Markey (D)
Kevin J. O’Connor (R)

Ballot Propositions

Question 1 -- Motor vehicle ‘right to repair’
A Yes vote would require manufacturers to provide vehicle owners and independent repair facilities access to mechanical data stored in vehicles’ on-board diagnostic systems. Supporters say the ballot measure would guarantee that as technology advances, drivers will be able to obtain repairs at independent shops rather than being forced to rely on authorized dealers whose service typically are more expensive.


Question 2 -- Ranked-choice voting
A Yes vote would allow Massachusetts voters, beginning in 2022, to rank political candidates in order of preference when they cast ballots for most statewide and federal offices. In races with more than two candidates, votes would be counted in rounds, with candidates receiving the lowest first-choice vote totals being eliminated -- and their supporters’ second choices being counted -- until one candidate receives a majority. The new system would not apply to presidential races or certain local offices.



President and Vice President
Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris (D, WF)
Howie Hawkins and Angela Nicole Walker (G)
Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy Cohen (L)
Brooke Pierce and Karla Ballard (I)
* Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R, C)

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE -- 19th District
(11 counties including Columbia and most of Rensselaer)
Victoria N. Alexander (L)
* Antonio Delgado (D, WF, SAM)
Steven Greenfield (G)
Kyle Van De Water (R)


U.S. representative -- 20th District
(Albany, Schenectady, southern Saratoga and parts of Montgomery and Rensselaer counties)
Elizabeth L. Joy (R, C, SAM)
* Paul D. Tonko (D, I, WF)


U.S. representative -- 21ST District
(all or part of 11 counties including Warren, Washington and northern Saratoga)
Tedra L. Cobb (D, WF)
* Elise M. Stefanik (R, C, I)


State Senate

43rd district (Columbia County and parts of Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties)
* Daphne V. Jordan (R, C, I)
Patrick F. Nelson (D, WF)

44th district (parts of Albany and Rensselaer counties)
* Neil D. Breslin (D, I, WF)
David R. Yule (R)

45th district (Warren County, most of Washington and all or part of four other counties to the north)
Kimberly A. Davis (D, WF)
Daniel G. Stec (R, C, I)

49th district (Fulton, Hamilton and parts of Herkimer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties)
Thearse McCalmon (D)
* James N. Tedisco (R, C, I)

State Assembly


102nd district (part of Columbia County plus all or part of six other counties west of the Hudson)
Betsy Kraat (D)
* Christopher Tague (R, C, I)


106th district (parts of Columbia and Dutchess counties)
* Didi Barrett (D, I, WF)
Dean Michael (R, C, RF)

107th district (parts of Columbia, Rensselaer and Washington counties)
* Jacob C. Ashby (R, C, I)
Charles A. Senrick (L)
Brittany L. Vogel (D, WF)


112th district (parts of Saratoga and Schenectady)
Joseph S. Seeman (D, WF)
* Mary Beth Walsh (R, C, I)


113th district (parts of Saratoga and Washington)
David M. Catalfamo (R, C)
* Carrie Woerner (D, I, SAM)


114th district (Essex, Warren and parts of Saratoga and Washington counties)
Claudia K. Braymer (D, WF)
Matthew J. Simpson (R, C, I)
Evelyn M. Wood (SAM)



President and Vice President
Joseph Biden and Kamala D. Harris (D)
Don Blankenship and Bill Mohr (Constitution Party)
Brian Carroll and Amar Patel (American Solidarity Party)
Phil Collins and Billy Joe Parker (Prohibition Party)
Roque De La Fuente and Darcy Richardson (Alliance Party)
Richard Duncan and Mitch Bupp (i)
Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker (G)
Blake Huber and Frank Atwood (Approval Voting Party)
Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen (L)
Alyson Kennedy and Malcolm Jarrett (Socialist Workers)
Kyle Kenley Kopitke and Taja Yvonne Iwanow (i)
Christopher LaFontaine and Michael Speed (i)
Gloria Lariva and Sunil Freeman (Liberty Union Party)
Keith McCormic and Sam Blasiak (Bull Moose Party)
H. Brooke Paige and Thomas James Witman (i)
Brock Pierce and Karla Ballard (i)
Zachary Scalf and Matthew Lyda (i)
Jerome Segal and John De Graaf (Bread & Roses Party)
Gary Swing and David Olszta (Boiling Frog Party)
* Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence (R)
Kanye West and Michelle Tidball (i)


Wayne Billado III (i)
Michael A. Devost (i)
Charly Dickerson (i)
Kevin Hoyt (i)
Emily Peyton (i)
* Phil Scott (R)
Erynn Hazlett Whitney (i)
David Zuckerman (P, D)

Lieutenant governor
Wayne Billado III (i)
Ralph Corbo (i)
Cris Ericson (P)
Molly Gray (D)
Scott Milne (R)

U.S. Representative
Peter R. Becker (i)
Miriam Berry (R)
Christopher Helali (i)
Marcia Horne (i)
Shawn Orr (i)
Jerry Trudell (i)
* Peter Welch (D)

State treasurer
Carolynn Whitney Branigan (R)
Cris Ericson (P)
* Beth Pearce (D)
Alex Wright (i)

Secretary of state
* James C. Condos (D)
Cris Ericson (P)
H. Brooke Paige (R)
Pamala Smith (i)

State auditor
Cris Ericson (P)
* Doug Hoffer (D, R)

Attorney general
* T.J. Donovan (D)
Cris Ericson (P)
H. Brooke Paige (R)

State Senate


Bennington District (two seats)
* Brian Campion (D) of Bennington
Michael Hall (R) of Sunderland
Meg Hansen (R) of Manchester
Kevin Hoyt (i) of Bennington
* Dick Sears (D) of Bennington


Rutland District (three seats)
Brittany D. Cavacas (i) of Rutland City
* Brian “BC” Collamore (R) of Rutland Town
Larry Courcelle (D) of Mendon
Greg Cox (D) of West Rutland
* Cheryl M. Hooker (D) of Rutland City
Casey Jennings (i) of Rutland City
Richard “Sensei” Lenchus (i) of Benson
Michael Shank (i) of Brandon
Joshua C. Terenzini (R) of Rutland Town
Terry K. Williams (R) of Poultney

State House


Bennington District 2-1 (town of Bennington, two seats)
* Timothy R. Corcoran II (D)
Colleen Harrington (R)
Dave Whitman (D)


Bennington District 2-2 (town of Bennington, two seats)
Peter J. Brady Sr. (i)
* Jim Carroll (D)
* Mary A. Morrissey (R)
Michael Nigro (D)

Bennington District 3
* David K. Durfee (D)
Victor K. Harwood Jr. (R)

Bennington District 4 (two seats)
Seth Bongartz (D) of Manchester
* Cynthia Browning (i) of Arlington
* Kathleen James (D) of Manchester


Rutland-Bennington District (Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Rupert, Wells and Tinmouth)
Sally Achey (R) of Middletown Springs
* Robin Chestnut-Tangerman (D, P) of Middletown Springs
Rutland District 1
Tyler-Joseph Ballard (i) of Poultney
* Patricia A. McCoy (R) of Poultney


Rutland District 2 (two seats; Clarendon, Proctor, Tinmouth, Wallingford and West Rutland)
* Tom Burditt (R) of West Rutland
Ken Fredette (D) of Wallingford
Arthur Peterson (R) of Clarendon
* Dave Potter (D) of Clarendon


Rutland District 3 (two seats)
* William Canfield (R) of Fair Haven
* Robert Helm (R) of Fair Haven
Robert Richards (D) of Fair Haven


Rutland District 4 (town of Rutland)
Barbara Noyes Pulling (D)
* Thomas Terenzini (R)


Rutland District 5-3 (city of Rutland)
John P. Cioffi Jr. (R)
* Mary E. Howard (D)


Rutland District 5-4 (city of Rutland)
* William Notte (D)
Sherri Prouty (R)

Rutland-Windsor District 2 (Ludlow, Mount Holly, Shrewsbury)
* Dennis J. Devereux (R) of Mount Holly
Logan Nicoll (D) of Ludlow

Windham-Bennington District (Readsboro, Searsburg, Stamford, Dover, Somerset, Wardsboro, Whitingham)
John Moran (D) of Wardsboro
* Laura Sibilia (i) of Dover



Many people around the country think of Vermont as the ultra-liberal state that gave us Bernie Sanders, but Republicans appear to be making a serious effort this year to reclaim the top job in Montpelier.
Gov. Peter Shumlin is stepping down after three terms, and the Republican campaigning to succeed him, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, is a construction contractor and former stock car driver -- and a moderate with a track record of winning statewide elections. He easily fended off a primary challenger in August.
The Democratic candidate, Sue Minter, is a former state transportation secretary who prevailed in a more difficult three-way primary. She now must re-energize a Democratic base that has been somewhat dispirited in the year since Shumlin abandoned his much-touted effort to create a single-payer health insurance system in Vermont.
In a sign of Republican optimism about the race, the Republican Governors Association began spending heavily on television ads supporting Scott almost as soon as the August primary election was decided.
But much depends on the turnout in the presidential race, where Hillary Clinton is expected to carry the state easily. Some observers say GOP standard-bearer Donald Trump could have trouble garnering even 30 percent of the vote in Vermont -- a drubbing that could have serious consequences in down-ballot races.

-- Compiled by Fred Daley




C -- Conservative Party
D -- Democratic Party
G -- Green Party
GR -- Green-Rainbow Party
I -- Independence Party
i -- independent (no party)
L -- Libertarian Party
P -- Progressive Party
R -- Republican Party
SAM -- Save America Movement
WF -- Working Families Party

Dates and deadlines for voting in the Covid-19 pandemic


In Massachusetts, the voter registration deadline is Oct. 24. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 28, and these must be postmarked (or returned in person) by Nov. 3. Mailed ballots are not counted if they’re received after Nov. 6. In-person early voting is available at municipal offices Oct. 17-30. Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In New York, the voter registration deadline is Oct. 9. Any voter may request a mail-in (absentee) ballot because of Covid-19 concerns. The deadline to apply for a mail ballot is Oct. 27 by mail or phone -- or Nov. 2 in person. Mail ballots must be postmarked (or returned in person) by Nov. 3 and must be received by Nov. 10 to be counted. Early in-person voting is available at designated sites (at least one per county) from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1 (contact county elections boards for locations and hours). Polls are open on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In Vermont, same-day voter registration is available through Nov. 3. Because of the pandemic, ballots have been mailed directly to voters and must be returned by Nov. 2 to be counted. The state recommends mailing ballots by Oct. 24 or returning them in person to a town or city clerk’s office. Polls are open on Election Day from at least 10 a.m. (earlier in many towns) until 7 p.m.