The Vermont general election of 1998 was the only election in the short lived Second Vermont Republic, following its declaration of independence from the Kingdom of New England. It was held on the 2nd of February, 1998. At the time of the election, the Liberation Army of Vermont only controlled 60% of the state, even though it claimed all of Vermont, and thus only half of Vermont’s population were able to vote in relative safety. Fighting still continues along the borders of the breakaway state even as voting commenced, and long afterwards. The election was a focus of controversy amongst New England loyalists, with the former dominant party, the New England Whig Party, boycotting the elections.
Howard Dean, President of the Republic of Vermont, had gained his position after the forced resignation of Vermont Governor Jim Douglas eleven days before, following the capture of Vermont in the First Battle of Montpelier and the proclamation of the Republic of Vermont. With no primary opposition and with widespread popular support, Dean was re-elected unanimously.
In the new unicameral Vermont House of Representatives, however, matters were different. Although party groupings did not exist until after the election, many candidates ran on pro or anti-Dean lines, with a large groundswell of anti-Dean sentiment in Bennington. Pro-Dean candidates formed the Socialist Party after the election, while anti-Dean candidates formed the Liberal Party. Pro or anti-Dean divides proved the primary partisan divide during the life of the Republic of Vermont.
The election was not without controversy; Dean’s unanimous re-election was alleged to be due to Liberation Army intimidation of other candidates, while some candidates made allegations of vote-rigging in favour of the Socialist Party.