Welch captures Senate seat

Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 7:14 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2022 at 8:50 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Congressman Peter Welch will move up to the U.S. Senate after defeating his GOP rival Tuesday night.

The Associated Press called Welch as the winner shortly after the polls closed in Vermont at 7 p.m.

Democrat Peter Welch has represented the state in the House for nearly 16 years and will take the place of Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is leaving the chamber after 48 years. During his years in office, Welch has highlighted his efforts to reach across party lines to find solutions. But he admits that has been a heavier lift following the threats MAGA Republicans pose to democracy.

The 75-year-old Welch is giving up his House seniority to start as a freshman senator. He said his experience is needed in the Senate at a time when he feels the foundation of American democracy is under threat.

“While the votes are still being counted across the country and we’re unsure what the Senate will look like in January, we know that – whoever is in charge – the ‘Vermont way’ is needed to find solutions to our shared problems. It’s how Senator Patrick Leahy served us so well for 48 years, and it’s how I am committed to serve every day in the Senate. Vermont has always led the way during our toughest times, and now is no different. We need to come together to help our country through the challenges we face,” Welch said in a statement.

Republican Gerald Malloy, who was endorsed by the former president, focused the campaign on reducing the size of the government, the national debt and cracking down on illegal immigration.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy spoke at the Democratic celebration on his final election night as a sitting U.S. senator. Leahy took much of his speech to sing the praises of his apparent successor, Peter Welch. Leahy said he is pleased to hand over the baton to Welch. He said Welch keeps his word and carries the values of Vermont.

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