MONTPELIER — Francis Brooks, with 15.52 percent of the vote, took one of Washington County’s three senate seats away from longtime Republican Sen. Bill Doyle Tuesday.
Bill Doyle, who has served in the state Senate without interruption since 1969, narrowly fell into fourth place in the district with 15.3 percent of the vote according to the Secretary of State’s Office, with all districts reporting.
With fellow incumbents Ann Cummings, D-Montpelier, and Anthony Pollina, D-Middlesex, pacing the six-candidate field, the race was for third place as midnight approached and Doyle’s bid for a 25th consecutive two-year term was on life support.
Cummings was comfortably ahead with 16,742, and Pollina was a safe second with 14,950 votes, but Brooks was pushing for the first partisan sweep in the county’s Senate race in more than three decades and perhaps the first Democratic sweep ever.
With Woodbury left to report its results Tuesday night, Brooks was in third place with 13,479 votes and Doyle was a hair behind with 13,343 votes. Republicans John “Josh” Fitzhugh and Mike Doyle were bringing up the rear with 8,110 and 7,993 votes respectively.
Though Brooks led for most of the evening that’s only because Barre Town was one of the last towns to report. When it did, Doyle jumped briefly ahead on the strength of his decisive first-place showing in that community.
Doyle lost his lead when Plainfield’s numbers came in and a 53-vote deficit ballooned to 136 votes when Roxbury and Worcester reported.
Brooks, who survived a recount in the August primary by eking out a one-vote win over fellow Democrat Ashley Hill in another race for third place, could now be eying another one.