Republican Gov. Jim Douglas is up for re-election in 2004. He takes on Democrat Peter Clavelle, the mayor of Burlington. Both Douglas and Clavelle were unopposed in the primaries.
Douglas first won the position in 2003, more than two months after he failed to get a majority vote at the polls and the election was thrown to the Vermont Legislature. Douglas edged Democrat Doug Racine, 45 percent to 42 percent. Under the state Constitution, the Legislature chooses the governor when no candidate gets a majority. The lawmakers chose Douglas over Racine, 159-16.
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy will face re-election in 2004 with a run against Republican Jack McMullen. The businessman lost hte GOP primary to face Leahy six years ago. Leahy was first elected to the Senate in 1974.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean sought the Democratic presidential nomination until abandoning it in February 2004 _ when only one month before he was the candidate to beat. Dean finished a poor third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire and managed just single digits in several states through early February. His campaign attracted scores of followers and a Democratic record $41 million in campaign dollars largely through the Internet but no real votes were produced at the polls.
In the 2002 elections, in the state's lone House race, Rep. Bernie Sanders won a seventh term; his chief challenger, Republican William Meub, had practically conceded during debate.