Primary Preview: Democrats running for Congress

Published: Aug. 1, 2018 at 4:12 PM EDT
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The Vermont primary is less than two weeks away and five candidates -- two Republicans and three Democrats -- are hoping to become Vermont's next representative in Congress.

The two Democrats running for Congress face a tough battle as they go up against long-time incumbent Congressman Peter Welch. For more than a decade, Welch has held Vermont's only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, even getting both the Republican and Democratic nominations in 2016. But now he's got some competition.

"The Vermont population is sick and tired and infuriated with the establishment Democrats, and Peter Welch is one of those," said Dan Freilich, who along with Ben Mitchell, hope to unseat Welch in the August 14th primary election.

Each candidate is running somewhat similar campaigns. Both are pushing for universal healthcare, action on climate change, and campaign finance reform. They also want to be harder on President Donald Trump, something they say Welch has not done.

"He has a history of operating like a lawyer. We're going to use a scalpel to make little minor adjustments for the benefit of the people. But now is not a time for a scalpel, now is a time for brave people to stand up and say, 'No,'" Mitchell said.

"Mr. Welch and the people like Mr. Welch, the establishment Democrats in Congress, are very much responsible for Trump's election. People are sick and tired of their hypocrisy, their incrementalism, their claim of all these noble issues, but in fact be hypocritical because of all the money they take from the corporations," Freilich said.

But Welch says there is too much partisanship in Washington, so Congress needs to work together and hold the President accountable.

"This is a critical election. It's the first opportunity for the American people to weigh in on how they think President Trump is serving as President. In fact, I think he's been the worst President in my lifetime," Welch said.

During this campaign, Welch is calling for reforms in Congress. To bring power back to committees rather than to the House Speaker, and to focus on issues that have left working people behind in the economy.

"So there has to be an energetic government that's working on behalf of everyday people so they have economic opportunity and they don't get ripped off on prices," Welch said.

All three Democrats say they are ready to work for the everyday Vermonter.

"It's good to have a debate in the campaign so obviously any of us who run for office are making a committment to engage in that debate and let Vermonters be the deciders," Welch said.

The primary election is on August 14th. If you haven't registered to vote, you still have time. Registration is available during all normal business hours of your town or city clerk's office on days before the election and during polling hours on Election Day.