Transgender Candidate Has Uphill Battle Against Vermont Incumbent

August 15, 2018

By Christian Smith

Christine Hallquist, the first transgender gubernatorial candidate to be nominated by a major party, faces an uphill battle in Vermont, where she is trying to unseat the popular Republican governor.

"It's possible, but not likely, that Vermont will have the first transgender governor because the incumbent there, Phil Scott, is very popular," said Jonathan Alter, a political reporter and the host of Sirius XM's Alter Family Politics.

Hallquist, the former CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative, won 48.3 percent in Tuesday's Democratic primary. She beat out three other candidates, including a 14-year-old boy who was allowed to run because the Vermont Constitution does not have an age requirement for gubernatorial candidates.

"As far as I'm concerned, these are nice breakthroughs," Alter said Wednesday in an interview on Cheddar. "But they're not ultimately nearly as important as what happens between now and November. The big question is, whether Democrats ー progressives, in particular ー people who don't always vote very much, whether they get off their duffs, turn off their cable TV, go out there, and not actually vote, but work in flippable districts in their states."

Scott, who is popular even among Democrats in Vermont, is considered the favorite to win, though his poll numbers have taken a hit in recent months. His approval rating fell 18 points to 47 percent, and his disapproval rating doubled to 42 percent, according to Morning Consult's latest quarterly governor approval rankings.

The drop came after Scott tightened gun control laws in March. Despite Vermont's reputation as a liberal state, nearly a third of its residents own guns, according to CBS News.

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