Pearce Wins Solid Victory

11/07/12 5:53AM By Bob Kinzel
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AP/Toby Talbot
Democratic State Treasurer Beth Pearce, left, smiles after receiving a concession call from her opponent Wendy Wilton. At right is her campaign staffer Ryan Emerson.

Incumbent Democratic Treasurer Beth Pearce has won a solid victory over her Republican challenger Wendy Wilton.

Many political observers thought this race was going to be very close, but in the end, Pearce won by a margin of roughly ten percentage points.

This election marked the first time that Pearce has run for office. She was appointed Treasurer in January of 2011 when Jeb Spaulding resigned to become Secretary of Administration.

It was a race where Pearce and her Republican opponent Wendy Wilton offered very different ideas about the role of the Treasurer. Wilton charged that Pearce hadn't done enough to stabilize the state's pension funds and Pearce accused Wilton of trying to politicize the office.

The Republican SuperPAC, Vermonters First, spent several hundred thousand dollars to support Wilton.  In her acceptance speech, Pearce said her victory was a defeat for special interest politics.

"This was a grassroots campaign about issues. The SuperPAC lost. Vermonters won!"

Throughout much of September, Wilton seemed to dominate the race. Democratic leaders were concerned because they feared that if Wilton was elected, she would challenge many of the fiscal policies of the Shumlin Administration particularly the implementation of a single payer health care system.

The Democrats rallied around Pearce and she acknowledged their work.

"So first I want to thank everyone in this room tonight for all of your hard work. I'm so grateful for all of your contributions, your active support," said Pearce. "You made the phone calls, you knocked on doors, you dropped off the literature. Thank you so much!"  

Wilton said the Super PAC money essentially evened out the financial playing field in this race and she said she was proud to raise the issues of pension reform and transparency in the Treasurer's office.

"I'm very proud of the campaign that I've run. I brought a couple of really significant issues to this campaign and without my presence as a candidate and as a challenger I don't think some of these things would have been brought out."

Pearce says one of her top priorities in the next two years will be to help the state maintain its good bond rating on Wall Street.

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