Vermont Democrats on Tuesday nominated Christine Hallquist as their candidate for governor, making her the first transgender candidate to win a major party's nomination for a state's chief executive post.
With 47 percent of precincts reporting, Hallquist, a former chief executive of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, won 48 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press. She outpaced nonprofit executive James Ehlers and party activist Brenda Siegel, who each finished with about 22 percent of the vote.
Hallquist is the latest in a string of transgender candidates to notch firsts in recent years. In the past decade, transgender candidates have won election to two state legislative seats, seats on city councils in Minneapolis and a judgeship in the Bay Area.
But Hallquist now faces a much more difficult hurdle in her quest to beat Gov. Phil Scott (R).
Scott, who won his first term in 2016 by an 8-point margin, has modeled himself on past Vermont Republicans who did not pursue particularly partisan records, including former Gov. Jim Douglas (R) or former Sen. Jim Jeffords (R).
Scott has backed gun control legislation after a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., and he signed a modified marijuana legalization bill earlier this year.
He is in such a strong political position that the Democrat who may have posed the greatest threat, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (D), declined to run.
A poll conducted in July showed 43 percent of Vermont voters approved of the job Scott has done in office, compared with 28 percent who disapproved. Forty-five percent of Vermonters see Scott favorably, only 11 percent see Hallquist favorably, and 76 percent said they either had never heard of her or had no opinion of her.
By contrast, the poll showed President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE's approval rating stands at just 28 percent in one of the most liberal states in the country.
Vermont governors and their lieutenants have a recent history of working together, even if they come from opposite parties.
Democrats Howard Dean and Madeleine Kunin each ascended to the governor's mansion after serving as lieutenants for a Republican governor. Meanwhile, when Scott was lieutenant governor, he was so close to Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) that he helped Shumlin build a deck on his house.
Tags Donald Trump