Voters in Elmore and Morristown are sending a pair of familiar faces back to Montpelier.
Along with their counterparts in Woodbury and Worcester, voters in the Lamoille-Washington House district overwhelmingly re-elected Avram Patt and Dave Yacovone. The pair of Democrats – Yacovone is from Morristown and Patt from is from Worcester – handily defeated Republican challengers Shannara Johnson and Tyler Machia, both of Morristown.
“I’m obviously pleased to be re-elected, and that Dave was as well,” Patt said. The wide margin of victory for both he and Yacovone also seemed to send a clear message from voters in the district.
How many people voted overall is also a major takeaway for Patt.
“Regardless of how anyone voted, the voter turnout in our district, in Vermont, is really remarkable and that can only be a good thing,” he said.
“I’m excited, and I’m always humbled,” Yacovone said about the win. Not being able to campaign door-to-door and actually have face-to-face interactions with voters was a challenge for all the candidates, including Yacovone.
“I think I won on my past hard work, I do a lot of constituent work and feel like I work for all Vermonters,” Yacovone said. “I think people take note of that stuff.”
Yacovone was the top vote getter in the district, hauling in 3,391 votes. Patt finished second, but still well ahead of both Republicans, with 2,499 votes. Machia was third with 1,282 votes and Johnson fourth with 1,241.
For his part Machia, a first-time candidate and political newcomer, feels good about his showing against two experienced, well-liked Democratic incumbents.
“I’m not discouraged at all,” Machia said, and he thinks if he’d been able to campaign more traditionally and meet more people he would have done better.
“I’m really humbled and blown away by the support I was able to receive,” Machia said. “There’s only one way to climb a mountain, one step at a time, and I took the first step today.”
Yacovone was the top vote-getter in every town in the district, narrowly edging out Patt in both Woodbury and Worcester and handily winning Morristown and Elmore. Yacovone earned 2,206 votes in his hometown and got 432 in Elmore, while Patt got 1,402 votes in Morristown and 355 in Elmore.
Patt, who earned the second-most votes in each of the four towns, was excited about his showing in Morristown, where he’s typically come in third to Yacovone and a Republican in each of the past three elections before Tuesday.
“In my own case, I’ve never actually won in Morrisville. I’ve come in close usually, and the votes in the other three towns have carried me when I’ve won,” Patt said. When Morrisville’s totals were reported, that trend had reversed and “it was pretty clear that both Dave and I would be winning.”
Machia and Johnson finished well behind both Democrats in both Elmore and Morristown. In Morristown Machia was third with 832 votes and Johnson fourth with 745; in Elmore, Johnson was third with 155 votes and Machia fourth with 145.
Yacovone is proud of the campaign he ran, despite the divisive nature of national politics and how a bit of that seeped into their local race.
“I was positive, I always have been. I focus on the future, I call it the doctrine of kindness,” Yacovone said. “It was a hard campaign this year. One of the candidates was somewhat negative. Forgive me for saying that, but that was hard for me.”
With the election won, both Democrats know there’s a long road ahead as the state fights to bounce back from COVID-19.
“We’re going to be dealing with COVID-19 in this coming session, that’s going to color everything,” Patt said.