Third Thursday: Governor Phil Hoff and the Election of 1962
This monthly series featuring Vermont scholars will cover new research and ideas about the Green Mountain State.
In the leadup to the election of 1962, Vermont Democrats nominated Phill Hoff of Burlington, a strong candidate for Governor in line with their strategy known as "the still hunt."? Governor Ray Keyser, the Republican incumbent, had defied the old "Mountain Rule" culture of the Republican Party, won the nomination, and became the youngest person to win a governorship in the United States.?Hoff and Keyser set the stage for a gubernatorial election unlike any previous, with two young and ambitious candidates against a backdrop of national and local political change. Ray Keyser knew something and? had been trying to tell the old guard that, in the words of Bob Dylan, "The times they are a changing."? When the smoke cleared away and Vermont waited for the votes to come in, Ray Keyser got more Republican votes than Phil Hoff got Democratic votes – but Phil Hoff had won.
Until that point, Vermont had been a reliably Republican state. Hoff’s election shifted the balance, and today, almost sixty years later, Vermont is now one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country.
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