Longtime Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch also coast to re-election.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont was the first state called for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Tuesday while Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch coasted to re-election.

The calls came as polls closed at 7 p.m. on an Election Day that potentially saw record turnout in the state.

Clinton easily triumphed in Vermont, one of the nation’s most liberal states, over Republican Donald Trump. Vermont has three electoral votes.

Leahy, declared the winner over Republican Scott Milne, is the longest-serving member of the Senate and is heading into his eighth term. Milne, a travel industry executive, had focused his low-budget campaign on saying Leahy had been in Washington too long.

Leahy, 76, devoted some of his victory speech to criticizing Senate Republicans’ refusal to bring to a vote President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia,


“I hope the nation will send a very strong signal to the Republican leadership in Washington,” Leahy said. “You cannot keep a seat on the Supreme Court … vacant against the Constitution. Do your job.”

Welch, a Democrat who also had the Republican nomination, rolled to his sixth term in the U.S. House.

Secretary of State Jim Condos said he was hearing from polling places around Vermont that participation was high.

“I would say we have a good chance at an excellent turnout, potentially a record turnout,” Condos said.

More than 470,000 people were registered to vote as of Friday, up from fewer than 454,000 in 2008, the year of Obama’s first election to the White House. That year had the highest turnout ever, at 71.9 percent.

The most-watched in-state race, that for governor between Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Democrat Sue Minter, was widely seen as close. Both candidates were expressing confidence in their chances.


Minter said she was happy to be part of a Democratic team presenting a unified message. She also had the support of independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who stumped with her repeatedly.

Minter said the high turnout was good news for her and other Democrats.

“I do believe in Vermont, when lots of people come to the polls, that benefits Democrats,” she said.

Scott, who disavowed Trump early in his campaign, said he was not worried about a Democratic wave.

“I think Vermonters are independent-minded,” Scott said. As for his party’s presidential nominee being Trump, “I’m not feeling any backlash at all in that regard,” he said.

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