Former U.S. attorney Christina Nolan formally launched a bid for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, casting herself as a moderate Republican intent on easing the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C.
Nolan is seeking to be the first woman Vermont sends to Congress and the first Republican senator to represent the Green Mountain State since Jim Jeffords, who ultimately left the party in 2001 while still in office.
Nolan acknowledged last month that she was exploring a run, but Tuesday's announcement, via a video campaign ad and interview with Fox News, made it official.
"I'm running for Senate because we need leadership that will unify the country," Nolan said in the ad. "We need leadership that will work across the aisle to make positive change for Vermonters and their families."
In 2017, Gov. Phil Scott and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) both recommended Nolan to serve as Vermont's U.S. attorney. Then-president Donald Trump appointed her to the post later that year, and she held it until 2021, when President Joe Biden took office. Nolan was the first woman to hold the post.
At his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Scott said he would also support Nolan's bid for Senate.
"I was very pleased to see her step up," the governor said. "She's a viable candidate. She has a wealth of experience and the right demeanor."
Her office prosecuted the leaders of the Jay Peak EB-5 fraud and brought criminal charges against Purdue Pharma for a kickback scheme with electronic medical records company Practice Fusion, leading to a $8.3 billion settlement. While U.S. attorney, Nolan aggressively pursued gun and drug crime and effectively blocked an effort to establish a safe-injection site in Burlington by threatening to charge those who operate them.
Nolan, 42, is the first prominent Republican to enter the race. If she wins the party's nomination, she will face an uphill race against the likely Democratic nominee, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, in the bid to succeed Sen. Leahy, who is retiring.
While Nolan is the first prominent woman to run for Senate, three women are running to fill Welch's seat. That means Vermont could send two women to Washington, D.C., this cycle — after never having elected one to either chamber.
Nolan, originally from Westford, is a University of Vermont graduate. She lives in Burlington with her longtime partner, Jill.