Results by county
|Elections in Vermont|
The 2006 United States Senate election in Vermont was held on November 7, 2006. Incumbent independent Senator Jim Jeffords decided to retire rather than seek re-election to a fourth term in office and Bernie Sanders was elected to succeed him.
Sanders represented Vermont's at-large House district as an independent, won the Democratic primary and then dropped out to run as an independent. Many Democratic politicians across the country endorsed Sanders, and no Democrat was on the ballot. The state committee of the Vermont Democratic Party voted unanimously to endorse Sanders.
Sanders won the open seat with 65% of the vote.
Sanders won the Democratic primary, but declined the nomination, leaving no Democratic nominee on the ballot. This victory ensured that no Democrat would appear on the general election ballot to split the vote with Sanders, an ally of the Democrats, who has been supported by leaders in the Democratic Party.
In mid-August 2006, the campaign heated up considerably, with Tarrant fully engaged in heavy media advertising, most of which criticized Sanders' public stances. Tarrant ran several ads accusing Sanders of representing himself differently from his voting record in the House of Representatives, citing such examples as Sanders' votes against Amber Alert and against increased penalties for child pornography. Sanders responded with an ad stating that Tarrant's claims are "dishonest" and "distort my record" and presented what he viewed as more accurate explanations of his voting record.
Since Sanders was allied with the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Democratic leadership successfully dissuaded any serious challengers from their party. Sanders was endorsed by prominent Democrats such as DNC Chairman and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. On February 13, 2005 Sanders received an endorsement from Democracy for America, the political action committee that was founded by Dean after he withdrew from the 2004 Presidential race.
The election was the most expensive political campaign in Vermont history.
Tarrant was a self-funded candidate, with 98% of all his campaign expenditures coming from personal sources. He spent $7,315,854 total. Sanders' top contributors include the plaintiffs' law firm Baron & Budd; the International Union of Operating Engineers; the Laborers' International Union of North America; and the Communication Workers of America. Sanders raised $5,554,466 total. In total, Tarrant and Sanders spent $13,771,060. Tarrant spent $85 per vote, the largest cost per vote of any race in the country during 2006, while Sanders spent $34 per vote.
|Source||Date||Sanders (I)||Tarrant (R)|
|Research 2000||October 23–24, 2006||57%||36%|
|Research 2000||September 18–19, 2006||58%||33%|
|American Research Group||September 15, 2006||55%||40%|
|Rasmussen||August 3, 2006||62%||34%|
|American Research Group||July 27, 2006||56%||35%|
|Rasmussen||June 16, 2006||67%||29%|
|Research 2000||May 11, 2006||61%||24%|
|Doyle Poll||March 7, 2006||62%||26%|
|Rasmussen||January 5, 2006||70%||25%|
|Research 2000||November 1, 2005||64%||16%|
Official results from the Vermont United States Senate.
|Independent||Peter D. Moss||1,518||0.58||n/a|
|Liberty Union||Peter Diamondstone||801||0.31||-0.2|
Sanders won a majority of the votes in every county in the state, with 57% as his lowest county total.
Patrick Leahy (D)
|Vermont U.S. Senate elections
Bernie Sanders (I)
Patrick Leahy (D)