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Vermont Rep. Peter Welch wins Democratic nod, faces Paige

Last Updated Aug 14, 2018 at 11:40 pm EDT

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Peter Welch, Vermont’s lone representative in the U.S. House, on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination to seek re-election in November, when he’ll face perennial candidate H. Brooke Paige.

In Tuesday’s balloting, Welch defeated challengers Dan Freilich and Benjamin Mitchell. Paige beat Anya Tynio for the Republican nomination.

Since Welch was first elected to the House in 2006, he has consistently been one of Vermont’s most popular politicians, easily winning re-election every two years.

Welch, traditionally one of the most liberal members of Congress, says Vermont residents must fight the disastrous policies of President Donald Trump.

Welch is working to pass a comprehensive climate bill, cut prescription drug prices, raise the national hourly minimum wage and expand quality affordable health care by passing Medicare for All.

The 71-year-old Welch was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He went to law school at the University of California, Berkeley. He settled in Vermont in the 1970s, first working as a public defender before founding a law office. He was first elected to the state Senate in 1980 but took a break from electoral politics in the 1990s. He was re-elected to the Senate in 2002.

Welch was elected to the U.S. House in 2006 after Bernie Sanders left the chamber to run for the U.S. Senate seat he now holds.

He argues the state needs to “find a pathway back to the values of self-determination and community for all.”

In addition to the GOP nomination for the U.S. House he won Tuesday, Paige was in a too-close-to-call race for the Republican Senate nomination to run for the seat held by independent Sanders.

Paige also ran unopposed Tuesday for the Republican nomination for four statewide offices, secretary of state, auditor of accounts, attorney general and state treasurer.

Paige said he ran for multiple offices in the primary to protest how over the last several elections the Vermont Republican Party has failed to nominate candidates for many offices, which he said was an embarrassment for the GOP.