Vermont GOP voters 'deploy Malloy' as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate
Army veteran Gerald Malloy won an upset victory for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate Tuesday night, edging out former U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan.
Nolan had been viewed as the front-runner for most of the campaign, but on Tuesday, Malloy won the nomination with 43% of the GOP vote to Nolan’s 39%.
Malloy, 60, moved to Vermont two years ago and lives in Perkinsville. He attended West Point and spent more than 22 years in the Army. He’s also worked for emergency management programs in New England.
Malloy ran to the right of Nolan. He has said he doesn’t support any new gun control legislation and would vote for a federal abortion ban. He also advocates for reducing the size of the federal government, building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to limit immigration and increasing funding for law enforcement.
“People are not happy with the direction the country's going in,” Malloy said Tuesday night. “What we need is strong Republican leadership and that's what I believe I offer, leadership and performance that Vermonter's haven't been getting, to be honest.”
Malloy is hoping to convince Vermonters to send a Republican to Washington, D.C., to replace Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is retiring after more than four decades in the job. Malloy will face Rep. Peter Welch in the November general election. Welch easily won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday with about 88% of the vote.
“My responsibility is to show Vermonters how much energy I have, how much I care about their democracy and share their values,” Welch told reporters Tuesday night. “I believe Vermonters are all in on a democratic process, all in on reproductive freedom, all in an aggressive environmental protection.”
Malloy spent election day visiting polling locations across the state, driving from his home in Windsor County and ending the day in Chittenden County, where he spent the night at Delta Hotels in South Burlington.
As election night wore on and Malloy’s lead against Nolan grew, he came down from his room, along with his wife and a friend who wore a “Deploy Malloy” t-shirt, and spoke to reporters in the lobby.
When asked how he’d appeal beyond the Republican base, Malloy said he believed his message would resonate with independent voters and centrist Democrats.
“We're going to have debates and interaction,” Malloy said. “Our team is ready to go and have a super PAC that's backing me, so we're ready for that next level, and very excited about it.”
After the impromptu press conference, Malloy crossed the lobby to the hotel restaurant, where the bartender informed him that the kitchen would close in five minutes. Malloy quickly ordered hamburgers, chicken wings and a glass of Chardonnay as he waited for the night’s election results to be finalized.