Vermont GOP candidate stays a move ahead in primary ‘chess game’ with Democrats

Vermont Republican state candidate H. Brooke Paige is no stranger to the party faithful — but he is rather unconventional.

In 2016, the Washington, Vt., politico ran both for governor and state attorney general — as a Democrat. He attempted the same trick in 2014, but lost there as well.

H. Brooke Paige

H. Brooke Paige: “My primary ‘place-holding’ strategy is intended to preserve every ballot position for Republican candidates to compete in the November election with a Republican candidate’s name petitioned onto the ballot for each office in the primary.”

As the Aug. 14 primary nears for this year’s election, Paige’s name is once again on the primary ballot — this time as a Republican.

The jocular, often top-hatted polymath is an attention-getter. He is  also a reminder of a GOP-dominated past when commonsense rural values dominated the state’s voting population through the end of the 1960s — at least before urban and suburban demographic shifts, and before the administration of Gov. Philip Hoff (the state’s first Democratic governor since 1853) flipped the state from red to blue.

However, getting his name placed on multiple ballot slots is actually Paige’s way of playing a clever game of “primary chess.” He uses the gambit to thwart what he believes are devious attempts by state Democrats to undermine the minority Republicans.

This year, Paige has decided to run for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Vermont attorney general, Vermont secretary of state, Vermont treasurer and Vermont auditor of accounts.

While Paige had been on the ballot as a primary candidate for the GOP lieutenant governor until last week, he withdrew his name from that race while maintaining his placeholder status for the other slots.

“My primary place-holding strategy is intended to preserve every ballot position for Republican candidates to compete in the November election with a Republican candidate’s name petitioned onto the ballot for each office in the primary,” Paige told True North Reports.

“My strategy will prevent the Democrats from denying the Republican Party the right to ‘nominate by committee’ for the statewide ballot and place candidates on the general election ballot for those offices they failed to recruit candidates for in time for the primary.”

Paige maintains that in recent Vermont primary races, Democrats have attempted “a coordinated crossover write-in campaign” in which they have had party faithful select the Republican primary ballot and then vote a published slate of Democrat candidates as write-ins.

Paige said that the Democrats’ strategy has resulted in their candidates “most frequently being the highest vote getters” and accordingly “being winners of the Republican nomination for offices the Republicans had failed to petition a candidate onto the primary ballot.”

However, as to his decision to pull out of the race for lieutenant governor this week, there is a method to his madness: he decided to endorse Minority Leader Rep. Don Turner, a highly respected Republican who announced his candidacy last week.

“With Rep. Don Turner having successfully petitioned himself onto the Republican primary ballot, there is no longer a need for my name to be published in competition with the respected minority leader of the Vermont House of Representatives,” Paige said.

“I know Rep. Turner to be a knowledgeable and honest legislator – a man of impeccable integrity whose promises can be counted in every situation. [He] will make an outstanding, independent lieutenant governor for the citizens of Vermont. I am pleased to stand aside and allow him to concentrate his efforts on the general election,” he said.

While calling himself a “placeholder” candidate this year, Paige’s current run for the multiple slots nevertheless continues policy themes he expressed during his 2016 run for governor and attorney general. He has stressed a plan to reduce Vermont’s taxes with its top-heavy reliance on federal funds. In 2016, he  suggested the establishment of a state bank as well emergency warrants to make up for any future revenue shortfalls.

Paige has repeatedly expressed a need for tort reform (compensation to parties awarded by the courts) and the reduction of frivolous malpractice lawsuits in Vermont.

While a supporter of green energy, Paige has said he would like to see the elimination of industrial-scale wind projects which dot the Vermont landscape and scenic ridgelines. He has also urged greater government transparency, more local control of public schools and “uniform criminal sentences to prevent judicial activism.”

Paige’s shifting party identification — from Democrat in 2016 back to Republican in 2018 — may demonstrate the candidate’s unique, libertarian independence along with a strong dislike of being pigeon holed.

“Political organizations and their media sponsors have been most effective in ‘branding’ their opponents,” Paige said in 2016. … Paraphrasing President Kennedy, ‘it is not important if the solution is a Republican one or a Democratic one; what is important is for it to be the best one.'”

Lou Varricchio is a freelance reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at lvinvt@gmx.com.

Image courtesy of H. Brooke Paige
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9 thoughts on “Vermont GOP candidate stays a move ahead in primary ‘chess game’ with Democrats

  1. Giving Vermont voters the opportunity to vote for a candidate other than those leading us down the path of financial disaster as a state and on a personal level is one welcome sight. Hats off to you Mr. Page and great luck..

  2. H. Brooke Paige, I have to give you ” CREDIT ” for trying to get Vermont back to a
    conservative stance by trying to upset the stranglehold that the Progressive Dems
    have in our state.

    But, by running for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Vermont attorney
    general, Vermont secretary of state, Vermont treasurer and Vermont auditor of accounts,
    this seems a little daunting to me !!

    I cannot believe that we ( Republicans) cannot gather enough candidates to run for these
    positions ?? I also want to thank Don Turner for stepping up.

    Until Vermont gets back to a real conservative position we will continue to “suffocate ” as
    we are doing under the current Progressive Democrat control in Montpelier !!

    High Taxes, Debt, No Job with out of control School Spending just to name a few. I know
    we have some really qualified conservative’s left in Vermont. Please step up its time or
    we will become ………….NY, MA……Shameful.

  3. I agree. I want to know more about Paige’s background in terms of business experience. We need people “serving” taxpayers who know the meaning first-hand of working for a living and having common sense. Both of those qualifications seem to be seriously absent in many of our legislators.

  4. Thank You, Lou for the well-reasoned presentation of my attempt at election reform and defending the Republican’s right to present the voters with a full slate of well-known, highly-qualified candidates in the General Election !

    Brooke

  5. “I know Rep. Turner to be a knowledgeable and honest legislator – a man of impeccable integrity whose promises can be counted in every situation.” H. Brook Paige, you might want to test that statement out. Don lied to me about legalization of marijuana and told me we could count on him to be in opposition. He now is a committed supporter of total commercialization but won’t respond to my inquiries about that flip. He’s just another politician and it has to be the money driving him. What else could make an “honest legislator” ignore that his position will cause injury and death and decide to support the Big Marijuana Industry here in Vermont? Would be hard for me to use words like “knowledgeable”, honest”, impeccable integrity” and “can be counted in every situation” for him or for our governor. I am a Republican but with the likes of Phil Scott and Don Turner as the political leaders for the party, I wonder why? I seem to be a man without a party.

  6. Ya kinda gotta like a guy who can good-naturedly have fun while raising important issues. I might could even vote for him.

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