GOP runner-up launches Libertarian bid for US House

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 6:09 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The shakeup in the GOP race for Vermont’s lone congressional seat continues, with the runner-up in Tuesday’s primary now saying she plans to as a Libertarian, creating a three-way contest in November.

Liam Madden, a self-declared Independent won the three-way GOP contest Tuesday by an eight-percentage point margin over Ericka Redic. To be on the ballot as an Independent, Madden would have had to register as an Independent, but he missed that deadline. So, the Iraq War veteran turned antiwar advocate Wednesday said he would accept the GOP title, despite telling voters he would reject it.

That prompted Redic on Thursday to declare she will run as a Libertarian. The Burlington accountant says Republicans are fuming. “A lot of Republicans woke up Wednesday morning asking themselves -- and then me -- who is Liam Madden? Who is this guy, why haven’t we heard from him and how could this happen?”

On the WCAX debate stage earlier this month, third-place finisher Anya Tynio asked Redic if she would run as a Libertarian if she didn’t win the primary. “I will not run as a Libertarian if I do not win the Republican nomination,” Redic responded, adding that she would “happily support Tynio.”

But Redic on Thursday said she never agreed to support Madden -- who is not a Republican -- and that a true conservative needs to be in the race. She claims Madden is taking advantage of the party she was trying to unify. “That was my goal as Vermont’s candidate, as Vermont’s conservative candidate, as Vermont’s liberty-minded candidate,” she said.

“In order to challenge the two-party system, I need to leverage a vehicle of one of the party platforms. I’m going to piss one side or another off,” Madden conceded Thursday. He says he took the GOP nomination so he would not be in a three-way race between Becca Balint and the GOP nominee and that his ultimate goal is to break away from both parties. “I am here to give voters of Vermont in the general election a choice that is radically different than the two-party system can provide.”

Longtime former Vermont AP bureau chief Chris Graff says the unusual spat between the candidates won’t make much of a difference come November in “deep blue” Vermont. “It is really irrelevant. It’s irrelevant to the Republican Party, it is irrelevant to the outcome in November,” he said.

The state Republican Party leadership did not respond to a request for comment Thursday, but the issue is sure to come up on Saturday at their state committee meeting in Montpelier.

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