This commentary is by Paul Dame, chair of the Vermont GOP.
The Democrat primary proved that is has been overtaken with the farthest left Progressives. In every single race that Democrats were given a chance, they chose the candidate furthest to the left and repeatedly rejected their moderate or centrist candidates.
Democrats rejected the more neutral technocrat Chris Winters for Secretary of State, instead choosing Sarah Copeland-Hanzas who took incredibly controversial steps to politicize the charter changes like the Barre City Flag ordinance, and who also rejected the single member map created by the bipartisan reapportionment committee which resulted in overturning the will of some communities, and forcing two Republican incumbents into a contested primary. Here Democrats chose ideological purity over pragmatism.
Democrats also rejected the more moderate Molly Gray in favor of Progressive ally Becca Balint. Aside from Becca’s endorsement from Progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, she also has made extreme statements expressing her desire to “Tax the hell out of fossil fuels,” which is in stark contrast to Gray’s willingness to work across the aisle on Republican priorities, like repealing the Military Pension Tax.
And in the race for Lt. Governor, Democrats again rejected moderates like Kitty Toll and Charlie Kimbell to go all in on another well-known Progressive candidate David Zuckerman, who received even fewer votes than Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
And most alarmingly of all, Democrats in Chittenden County stuck with Progressive Sarah George, despite the concerns of law enforcement community and neighboring State’s Attorney’s offices concerned about the rapid spread of crime and inconsistency of prosecutions. Democrats have positioned themselves to reject the calls for common sense public safety reforms, and instead are pushing forward with a woke agenda that is literally setting criminals free.
Democrats have shown in their primary that there is no longer any room for moderates, centrists or independents in their party.
Meanwhile on the Republican side our primary produced a much more diverse field of candidates, all from the same electorate.
First, Gerald Malloy won the U.S. Senate primary with a clear Conservative message that highlighted his military service and traditional Republican values.
Then Gov. Phil Scott and Senator Joe Benning were the clear choices of Republican voters looking for a more moderate and common sense approach.
And while a majority of Republicans split their vote between two conservative women for U.S. House, the plurality of Republican primary voters who chose Liam Madden, an anti-establishment Marine and environmentalist, demonstrates that even people who consider themselves Independent find themselves more closely aligning with the Vermont Republican Party because of our defense of free speech, protection of the second amendment and other traditional Vermont values which Progressive Democrats have abandoned.
While Progressive Democrats have continued the process of eliminating all but the most radical elements of their elected leaders, Republicans have chosen to broaden their approach to attract a growing coalition of Conservatives, Republicans and Independents to vote Republican elsewhere on their ballot this fall.