D > Larocque Wins House Seat

Larocque Wins House Seat

by Willow Lanpher

The race for the Caledonia-3 seat in the Vermont House of Representatives has been like a game of musical chairs - and former Rep. Leigh Larocque, R-Barnet, has taken his seat back.

"I feel great," Larocque said from his home just before midnight on Tuesday, as jubilant supporters cheered in the background. "I don't think it's a cliffhanger, I think it's sending a message ... the people expect their representative to be business friendly."

Election '98

Voters in the towns of Waterford, Barnet and Ryegate voted 1,066 to 812 in favor of Larocque, deposing Rep. Jenny Nelson, D-Ryegate, after just one term.

This is the second time that the two have tangled in the political arena. In 1996, the voters chose Nelson over Larocque by a mere three votes. Larocque was initially declared the winner by 12 votes, but a recount requested by Nelson found that she had defeated Larocque.

Larocque said last week that if he won in his hometown of Barnet, he felt confident he would win the race against Nelson. Barnet voters did choose Larocque on Tuesday - 461 votes to Nelson's 323.

However, what may have widened the gap between the two candidates was Larocque's win in Waterford, with 367 votes to Nelson's 191.

Nelson only received more votes in her hometown of Ryegate where the voters cast 298 ballots in her favor and 238 for Larocque.

"I think he had a lot of money behind him," Nelson said late Tuesday night, adding that she felt Larocque ran a negative campaign and didn't give the voters any solutions.

Larocque said he felt he ran a clean campaign and only stood Nelson's voting record beside his.

Nelson claimed that there were many controversial issues surrounding the campaign that, she said, will come out eventually.

Though she said she has no definite plans yet for the future, Nelson will remain on the Health Committee, to which she was appointed, until December. Now she plans only to get some rest.

Copyright 1998

The Caledonian-Record



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