If you had to look at the races objectively and outline the winners in Tuesday's primary before the election was ever held, you probably would have listed them exactly the way they ended up, at least for the top races.
U.S. Senate: Rich Tarrant beats Greg Parke and Cris Ericson, easily. Bernie Sanders snares the Democratic nomination, hugely, though he is expected to decline it.
U.S. House: Martha Rainville over Mark Shepard, easily.
Lt. Gov.: Matt Dunne defeats John Tracy, but barely.
Some of the other races were harder to pick with precision, but not entirely surprising:
Chittenden County state's attorney: T.J. Donovan beats Ted Kenney and Rob Backus. Donovan, though the youngest candidate, was perhaps campaigning the heaviest.
Chittenden Senate: The four Democratic incumbents and former state Sen. and Lt. Gov. Doug Racine made it onto the November ballot. Perhaps the surprise was Dennis McMahon out-polling Tim Palmer for the sixth spot on the ballot. Among Republicans, Darren Adams, who changed his plans and signed up for a four-year tour with the Marines, won one of the six seats.
Chittenden House seats: No surprises. Incumbents survived all challenges. The Progressives, holding their first primary, decisively chose two candidates for state House in Burlington.
The lessons: It's hard to beat an incumbent. It's hard to beat a candidate annointed by the party in advance. And it's hard to beat somebody who gets an early start.
- Terri Hallenbeck