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Barrett defeats Franklin for state’s attorney nomination

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Jennifer Barrett.  Photo by Joseph Gresser
Jennifer Barrett. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle August 27, 2014

Jennifer Barrett was a clear victor in the Orleans County State’s Attorney’s race in the Republican PrimaryTuesday evening, and Paul Lefebvre won as a Republican nominee for the House district that covers parts of Essex County, Caledonia County, and Westmore in Orleans County.

Ms. Barrett had 953 votes to incumbent Alan Franklin’s 656 in the Chronicle’s unofficial election night results.

Mr. Franklin was overwhelmed by a strong challenge from his former deputy.  Ms. Barrett won in all but one of Orleans County’s 19 towns.

Although he served a full term in the office, Mr. Franklin had never faced the voters before.  He was appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin to serve out the term won by Keith Flynn in 2010.  Mr. Flynn had been appointed commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

On Tuesday, Mr. Franklin won a majority of votes only in Newport City, which he carried 178 to 150.  He lost narrowly in Derby where Ms. Barrett had 204 votes to his 183.  Ms. Barrett piled up the votes in several smaller towns, including Barton where she prevailed 94 to 24, and Brownington, which she took 75 to 25.

Ms. Barrett, who has been working in the Bennington County State’s Attorney’s Office, said at a candidates’ forum that she was recruited for her run by local law enforcement officers.

Alan Franklin.  Photo by Joseph Gresser
Alan Franklin. Photo by Joseph Gresser

She campaigned on a promise to be a hardworking and tough prosecutor.  The Vermont State Troopers Association gave her a strong endorsement and promised to support her in the general election.

After her win Ms. Barrett was reached by phone, as she headed back to Bennington.  She said she had a jury trial scheduled for the next day.

Ms. Barrett expressed some surprise at her victory and said, “I’m really honored.”

“I worked hard all summer,” she said, “and had the help of really amazing people who worked very hard for me.”

In addition to thanking Orleans County voters for their support, Ms. Barrett complimented Mr. Franklin for running a good race.

“I wish Alan nothing but the very best,” Ms. Barrett said.

She said she plans to be back in Orleans County by the weekend to continue her campaign.

In the November election, Ms. Barrett will face another of Mr. Franklin’s deputies, James Lillicrap, who is running as a Democrat, as well as independent Ben Luna, a former Caledonia County Deputy State’s Attorney.

Essex-Caledonia-Orleans House race

Mr. Lefebvre had 268 votes to Kenn Stransky’s 123 and 34 votes for Maurice Connary by press time.  The three all ran as Republicans, so the contest basically took place in Tuesday’s Primary Election.

All towns except Bloomfield had reported results by press time.

Mr. Stransky said the results were disappointing, yet the voters had spoken.

“I’m really excited to have won,” said Mr. Lefebvre.  “Thanks to everyone for the privilege of representing you in the State House in Montpelier.  I will work hard to prove I am worthy of your support.”

Vince Illuzzi survived a serious challenge for the Republican nomination for Essex County State’s Attorney, with 433 votes to Julianne Woolard’s 367 with one town left to report in.

Mr. Illuzzi said it’s not surprising that there are people out there unhappy with him as a county prosecutor. He said he knows of one person he has prosecuted who was working hard on his opponent’s campaign.

“I’ve always done my best and given it all I have.”

In a tight race for two Democratic nominations for assistant judge, Larry Duane and John Elwell were nominated.  Mr. Duane had 268 votes, Mr. Elwell 274, and Mr. Wood 229.

Of the nine towns that submitted numbers for voter turnout, about 12 percent of voters went to the polls or turned in absentee ballots ahead of time.

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