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Phil Scott Takes GOP Primary, Says Victory Proves Going Negative Doesn't Work

Bob Kinzel
VPR File
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott addresses the crowd gathered in Barre Tuesday night after the Associated Press announced his victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has won a decisive victory over businessman Bruce Lisman to win the Republican gubernatorial primary. Scott says his election shows that negative campaigning does not work in Vermont.

Several hundred people gathered at the Granite Museum in Barre to celebrate Scott's win.

As Scott took the stage with his family, the crowd waved green and white "Scott for Governor" signs and the sounds reverberated through the high ceilings of a building that was once a former granite shed.

The race pitted Scott, who has been elected to three terms as lieutenant governor and five terms as a state senator, against Shelburne businessman Bruce Lisman, who had never run for office before.

Lisman invested roughly $2 million of his own money to launch a massive TV ad campaign that strongly criticized Scott's performance in office.

Full Results From Tuesday's Primary

Scott told his supporters that his win clearly demonstrates that Vermont voters rejected Lisman's negative approach.

"Tonight we can say with certainty that this campaign settles an important debate. Negative campaigns don't have to work in Vermont," Scott said. "No matter who you are!"

And Scott urged Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter to join him in a positive, issue-oriented campaign in the fall election.

"When I am governor, we're going to restore faith and trust in state government by focusing on the fundamentals of a strong economy never never over promising and always following through." — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

"In the upcoming general election Vermonters deserve a clean campaign focused on the issues," Scott said. "I know mine will be, 'Let's make this an exchange of ideas and not an exchange of attacks.'"

Scott says one his top goals is to balance the state budget without raising taxes because he says the state needs to live within its means.

"When I am governor, we're going to restore faith and trust in state government by focusing on the fundamentals of a strong economy never never overpromising and always following through," Scott said. "That's what Vermonters deserve and that's what we are going to give them."

Lisman said he was pleased that his campaign was able to focus on a number of critical issues and he made it clear that he will be supporting Phil Scott in November.

"I want him to win," Lisman said at his event in Burlington Tuesday night. "I'll do anything I can to ensure that people understand that he is the right guy and all those who supported me, I hope they'll support Phil. He's the right guy."

The Republicans will hold a "unity breakfast" Wednesday morning to present their full slate of statewide candidates for the fall election.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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