Sanders: 50–60% 60–70% 70–80% 80–90%
|Elections in Vermont|
The 2006 United States Senate election in Vermont was held November 7, 2006. Incumbent independent Senator Jim Jeffords decided to retire rather than seek reelection to a fourth term, and Bernie Sanders was elected to succeed him.
Sanders represented Vermont's at-large House district as an independent, won the Democratic primary, and then dropped out to run as an independent. Many Democratic politicians across the country endorsed him, and no Democrat was on the ballot. The state committee of the Vermont Democratic Party voted unanimously to endorse Sanders.
Sanders won the seat with 65% of the vote. His win marked the first Republican loss for this seat in 152 years, ending the longest single-party Senate winning streak in history.
Sanders won the Democratic primary, but declined the nomination, leaving no Democratic nominee on the ballot. This victory ensured that no Democrat would appear on the general election ballot to split the vote with Sanders, an ally of the Democrats who had been supported by leaders in the Democratic Party.
|Democratic||Louis W. Thabault||585||1.53|
Businessman Richard Tarrant announced his campaign in October 2005. Tarrant largely self-funded his campaign, and frequently denounced political partisanship. Lieutenant Governor of Vermont Brian Dubie faced pressure from national Republicans to enter the race, and formed an exploratory committee to do so, but the committee raised little money and Dubie opted not to run.
In mid-August 2006, the campaign heated up considerably, with Tarrant fully engaged in heavy media advertising, most of which criticized Sanders's public stances. Tarrant ran several ads accusing Sanders of representing himself differently from his voting record in the House of Representatives, citing such examples as Sanders's votes against Amber Alert and against increased penalties for child pornography. Sanders responded with an ad stating that Tarrant's claims were "dishonest" and "distort my record", and presented what he viewed as more accurate explanations of his voting record. Tarrant also claimed that Sanders's election would lead to an exodus of businesses from Vermont. Sanders based his campaign on a well-tested message of fixing economic inequality, and ran a positive campaign that took advantage of his high name recognition in the state.
The election was the most expensive political campaign in Vermont history.
Tarrant was a self-funded candidate, with 98% of all his campaign expenditures coming from personal sources. He spent $7,315,854 total. Sanders' top contributors include the plaintiffs' law firm Baron & Budd; the International Union of Operating Engineers; the Laborers' International Union of North America; and the Communication Workers of America. Sanders raised $5,554,466 total. In total, Tarrant and Sanders spent $13,771,060. Tarrant spent $85 per vote, the largest cost per vote of any race in the country during 2006, while Sanders spent $34 per vote.
|Research 2000||November 1, 2005||64%||16%|
|Rasmussen||January 5, 2006||70%||25%|
|Doyle Poll||March 7, 2006||62%||26%|
|Research 2000||May 11, 2006||61%||24%|
|Rasmussen||June 16, 2006||67%||29%|
|American Research Group||July 27, 2006||56%||35%|
|Rasmussen||August 3, 2006||62%||34%|
|American Research Group||September 15, 2006||55%||40%|
|Research 2000||September 18–19, 2006||58%||33%|
|Rasmussen||September 24, 2006||64%||32%|
|Research 2000||October 23–24, 2006||57%||36%|
Official results from the Vermont United States Senate.
|Independent||Peter D. Moss||1,518||0.58%||N/A|
|Liberty Union||Peter Diamondstone||801||0.31%||-0.2|
Sanders won a majority of the votes in every county in the state, with 57% as his lowest county total. He has served as a U.S. Senator for Vermont since.