Governor Peter Shumlin cruised to an easy re-election victory over Republican challenger Randy Brock.
Shumlin defeated Brock by almost 20 percentage points.
In his second term, Shumlin promised to continue to promote a jobs agenda, and lead the state on a path for a single payer health care system.
Two years can be a lifetime in politics – a fact made abundantly clear by a comparison between election nights 2010 and 2012.
Last time around, Shumlin didn’t know for sure that he had been elected governor until the next morning, when his opponent, Brian Dubie, conceded.
This year, the results were much more lopsided.
Voters overwhelming embraced Shumlin’s energetic style of leadership, including his handling of Tropical storm Irene.
In his victory speech, the governor vowed to focus on health care reform, and to make Vermont "the education state" through both early childhood and higher education initiatives.
"And here’s my promise. I will take the extraordinary vote tonight and represent every single Vermonter, doesn’t matter what party you are, doesn’t matter who you voted for," he said. "I understand as governor my job is to work for you, to continue to ensure that we lead the country out of the worst recession in American history, and work together for a bright future."
The last time Vermont voters rejected an incumbent governor was 1962. So Franklin Senator Randy Brock faced tough odds against a popular incumbent. Brock’s main message was that Shumlin’s policies left the state facing too much risk. He pounded on the potential financial risks from health care reform, and the risk to the state budget if the administration rebuilt the Waterbury state office complex without the certainty of federal funds.
Brock continued with the same theme on election night. But he acknowledged in a VPR interview that the lack of a financing plan for Shumlin’s health care proposal may have made his warnings hard for voters to comprehend.
"The uncertainty associated with people not really being able to understand what this was going to cost, how it was going to be paid for, and who was going to be paying for it, did put it farther out in the future," Brock said. "It makes it less easy for people to grasp the impact of what’s happening."
In his concession speech, Brock promised to remain engaged in public policy in Vermont. Despite his crushing defeat, he said running for governor was the best experience of his life.