September 13, 2006
By Brent Curtis Herald Staff
The lone primary contest among state representative candidates in Rutland ended with a landslide victory for Democrat Gale Courcelle.
Courcelle, a retired Rutland City physical education teacher, soundly defeated Kevin Volz by a vote of 176-15. Courcelle will move on to face incumbent Republican David Allaire for a House seat in District 5-4.
“I was happy about that; it’s what I was really hoping for,” Courcelle said after hearing the results. “It’s a good start, but all it means is more work ahead.”
“I know it’s a tough race ahead with David. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and going door-to-door to reach the voters,” she added.
Undaunted by the results, Volz said he will continue his bid for office, not as a Democrat, but as a Libertarian.
“The independent voters I talked to want to see changes. They want to see lower spending in Montpelier,” he said.
While the Libertarian party’s views are usually lumped in with the far right of the political spectrum, Volz said he ran as a Democrat because of principles that the two parties have in common.
“I don’t agree that Libertarians are closer to the right,” he said. “The Libertarian philosophy embodies what a lot of Democrats hold dear.”
Upholding civil liberties, including the right to abortions, is one example of shared ground between the parties, Volz said.
Where the two parties depart is over fiscal policies, where Democrats often favor larger government and broad social safety nets and Libertarians favor much lower taxes and less government involvement in addressing social issues.
Volz said he supports funding public services, but he said he said there is a limit to what people can spend.
“At some point, enough is enough,” he said. “We need to have priorities.”
Turnout at the polls was low on Tuesday with only 1,438 of the city’s 9,000 voters casting ballots.
In the larger statewide races, Rutlanders favored Matt Dunne over John Tracy 311-265 in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. Martha Rainville led rival Mark Shepard in the Republican primary for Vermont’s lone U.S. representative seat by a vote of 491-246.
In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Richard Tarrant led Rutland candidate Greg Parke by a vote of 424-276 in the city.
Contact Brent Curtis at [email protected]