But in a contest that provided few notable policy distinctions between the leading candidates, Balint’s success in claiming the progressive mantle — she was also endorsed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of neighboring Massachusetts — likely helped her among primary voters, who tend to lean even further left than even the average Vermont Democrat.
“A high turnout for us has been about 25%, so we’re not talking about a real representation of the Democratic party in Vermont,” said Rich Clark, a professor at Castleton University and Vermont pollster, on the eve of the primary. “It’ll be the most engaged (voters deciding the winner) and they’ll tend to be on the progressive side.”
Balint will enter the November general election as the overwhelming favorite to win the seat being vacated by Rep. Peter Welch, who is running to fill Leahy’s seat in the Senate. This was the first Democratic House primary in Vermont with no incumbent on the ballot since 2006, when Sanders gave up his seat to run for the Senate.