Primary Preview: Republicans running for Congress
"If either one of us wins, we're going to be slaughtered in the general election," H. Brooke Paige said.
Republican Paige says he and his primary opponent, Anya Tynio, have a tough hill to climb to win Vermont's only U.S. House seat.
"There's been single-party leadership in the state of Vermont for quite a while and it's important to understand that if those policies were going to work, they probably would have worked by now," Tynio said.
A Republican hasn't held the seat since 1990. Incumbent Democrat Peter Welch has served for more than a decade.
"He's moved increasingly to the left over the years he's been in Washington and today where he's fairly far to the left," Paige said.
Paige defines himself as a "constitutional conservative" who wants smaller government, lower taxes and more states' rights. In 2012, he ran in the Republican Senate primary and also tried to remove Barack Obama's name from the Vermont ballot on the false claim that Obama is not a natural-born citizen. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.
Now, Paige is not just running for the House, but also Senate, secretary of state, auditor of accounts, attorney general and state treasurer. He says if he wins any of them, he wants the Republican Party to replace him so they can avoid having a Democrat in both party primaries, which happened to Welch in 2016.
Reporter Avery Powell: For all these offices that you're running for, you mean to serve as a placeholder for someone?
H. Brooke Paige: I hate to use that phrase but understand if we don't find somebody else, I plan on actively and vibrantly competing for that position in the general election.
Paige says they already have some people picked out, but he would not say who.
Tynio is confident she will win the primary.
"People will tell us which they prefer and I believe it will be me," she said.
The 25-year-old has never run for public office before but says she is running on constitutional rights with a focus on the Second Amendment. She also wants to strengthen the state's economy and tourism base while preserving agriculture.
"I have a very individual voice right now," Tynio said. "I think that we need a fresh perspective in Washington. We need to have new leadership and I feel that I can do that very well."
The primary election is August 14. You can register to vote online or at your local clerk's office, even on the day of the election.