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Vermont poised to elect state’s first female member of Congress with Balint primary win

FILE – Vermont state Sen. Becca Balint, who is seeking the Democratic Party nomination to run for Vermont’s vacant U.S. House seat, speaks to voters in Colchester, Vt., on July 24, 2022. The Vermont primary is Aug. 9. The incumbent, Rep. Peter Welch, is running for the U.S. Senate. (G3 Box News Photo/Wilson Ring, File) Wilson Ring/G3 Box News

Vermont poised to elect state’s first female member of Congress with Balint primary win

Kate Scanlon

August 09, 08:50 PM August 09, 10:52 PM

Vermont is poised to send its first female lawmaker to Congress after state Sen. Becca Balint won the Democratic nomination for the state’s only House seat.

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The competitive race narrowed to three candidates in its final stretch, also including Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and physician Louis Meyers.

Rep. Peter Welch (D) chose not to seek reelection to the House but instead run for Senate after Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) announced he would retire at the end of his current term, his eighth in the Senate. Welch’s move left a rare vacancy for the state’s only House seat, sparking a competitive primary.

Deep-blue Vermont is the only state in the country that has never sent a woman to Congress, which some argue is at odds with its reputation as a bastion of progressive politics.

But since the Green Mountain State only has one House seat, opportunities to join the congressional delegation are rare, and in recent history, once a lawmaker is elected to the three-person delegation, they hold their seat for decades. Welch was first elected to the House in 2006, Leahy was first elected to the Senate in 1974, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) was first elected to the Senate in 2006 after holding Vermont’s House seat for 16 years.

Balint and Gray were seen as the candidates most likely to win the race, running closely matched campaigns in both fundraising and endorsements. Sanders endorsed Balint, while Leahy supported Gray.

G3 Box News

Balint will likely make history in November, as the state is expected to elect a Democrat in the at-large House race.

She will face Marine veteran Liam Madden, who ran as an anti-war independent. Madden won the nomination Tuesday in a Republican primary race that also included conservative YouTube personality Ericka Redic and GOP activist Anya Tynio.

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