By Katy Savage
Incumbent Rutland County Sens. Brian Collamore (R) and Cheryl Hooker (D) have won re-election along with newcomer Republican Josh Terenzini in a close race.
Terenzini, 33, has been on the Rutland Town Selectboard since 2015. He not only beat out challengers, but also earned 818 more votes than Hooker. Terenzini will take over Sen. James McNeil’s (R) seat after McNeil retired this year.
Hooker, a lifelong Rutland resident, served in the House and Senate during the 1990s before taking a break. She was re-elected in 2018.
Hooker was anxiously anticipating results on Tuesday night.
“So far it looks good,” she said, mentioning that it was difficult to see how she would do in the election given campaign restrictions due to Covid-19.
Collamore is well known for his decades’ long radio career, which he recently retired from. He has also been an ice hockey official since 1978 and was inducted into the Vermont Principals Association Hall of Fame.
“I’m very grateful for folks that braved nasty weather to get out,” Collamore said on Tuesday night.
Collamore was also congratulatory of Terenzini.
“He ran a very good race and he worked his tail off,” Collamore said. “It’s a big leap for him.”
Attempts to reach Terenzini were unsuccessful Tuesday night.
Terry Williams, 68, a Republican and Poultney Select Board member, finished in fourth place, 1,358 votes behind Hooker.
The Rutland County Senate race saw a field of 10 candidates. In addition to Williams, the winners defeated Democrats Greg Cox of West Rutland and Larry Courcelle of Mendon.
Cox, 69, is the owner of Boardman Hill Farm and the founder of the Vermont Farmers Food Center. He ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat in 2018.
Larry Courcelle, 70, previously served on the Mendon Select Board.
Independent candidates Brittany Cavacas of Rutland, who is chair of the Rutland Democratic Party, Michael Shank, of Brandon, Casey Jennings and Richard Lenchus of Benson, were also defeated.
Three incumbent Democrat senators for Windsor County have easily won re-election in a field of eight.
Sens. Alice Nitka, D-Ludlow, Alison Clarkson D-Woodstock, and Dick McCormack, D-Bethel, beat Republican candidates Jack Williams of Weathersfield and Michael Jasinski Sr. of Springfield, as well as Independent candidates Keith Stern of Springfield (who made an unsuccessful bid for governor against Phil Scott in 2018) Doug Wilberding of Norwich and Mason Wade of Rochester.
Nitka, 76, started serving in the Senate in 2007 after serving in the House since 1999. She said running for re-election was different this year given Covid-19 restrictions.
“It’s been very strange in that you couldn’t have any live debates, you couldn’t have forums,” Nitka said.
Nitka and the other candidates stood on street corners and conducted Zoom forums.
“It cost a lot more because you had to do more advertising, you couldn’t do all that in-person stuff,” Nitka said.
Meanwhile, Clarkson was elected to the House in 2006 and has been in the Senate since 2017.
McCormack, 73, was appointed to the Senate in 1989 and has been re-elected every year except for a break between 2000 and 2006.
“I’m honored that I’m still in a winning position,” McCormack said. “For the next two years I have to try to be worthy of it.”
McCormack said was preparing for an “economic tsunami” given the pandemic. “It’s a big challenge.”
State Senate (Rutland County) (3 seats)
• Brian “BC” Collamore (i)(R) — 14,844
• Joshua C. Terenzini (R) — 13,993
• Cheryl M. Hooker (i)(D) — 13,175
• Terry K. Williams (R) —11,817
• Greg Cox (D) — 10,261
• Larry Courcelle (D) —8,320
• Brittany D. Cavacas (I) —4,724
• Michael Shank (I) —2,263
• Casey Jennings (I) —1,006
• Richard “Sensei” Lenchus (I) — 551
State Senate (Windsor County) (3 seats)
• Alison Clarkson (i)(D) —19,091
• Richard McCormack (i)(D) —17,484
• Alice Nitka (i)(D/R) —16,732
• Jack Williams (R) —9,703
• Michael Jasinski Sr. (R) — 9,632
• Keith Stern (I)— 4,606
• Doug Wilberding (I) —2,857
• Mason Wade (I) — 1,471