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NATIONAL ELECTION RETURNS : EDITION-TIME COMPILATIONS : State-by-State Election Reports of Key Races and Issues : Vermont

November 05, 1986

MONTPELIER — Democratic Gov. Madeleine Kunin finished first in a three-way race for governor, but she failed to win a majority of the vote and her fate was thrown into the hands of the new state Legislature.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, easily won election to a third term even though he faced Vermont's most popular Republican, former Gov. Richard Snelling.

The victory margin of Kunin, Vermont's first woman governor, appears great enough to ensure her a second term, even though the state Constitution requires the Legislature to decide the contest if no candidate wins more than 50%.

Legislators have said they would support the winner of the popular vote if the margin between the top two vote-getters was more than 2 or 3 percentage points.

With 73% of 263 precincts reporting, Kunin had 47% with 51,369 votes, Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Smith had 38% with 41,983 votes, and Burlington Mayor Bernard Sanders, a socialist running as an independent, had 15% with 16,400 votes.

The liberal vote for governor was split between Kunin and Sanders.

In the Senate race, with 75% of precincts reporting, Leahy won 71,492 votes, or 64%, while Snelling won 39,099 votes, or 35%. Anthony Doria, a Conservative candidate, had 1,688 votes, or 2% of the total.

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