- Courtesy photo
- Liam Madden
Madden, an Iraq War veteran-turned-antiwar activist, said he changed his mind late Wednesday after realizing that running as an independent wouldn’t be possible at this point. He didn’t register to do so and, if he turned down the GOP line, would be forced to run as a write-in.
“There is no way in hell I’m running as a write-in candidate,” Madden told Seven Days on Wednesday evening. “That would be insane.” He also said the nomination process was “not apparent to someone who is not steeped in election law.”
“The best way to ensure that there is a two-person race in November is to keep the Republican label,” Madden said.
Madden won 35 percent of the GOP vote Tuesday, comfortably beating Republicans Ericka Bundy Redic, who had 27 percent, and Anya Tynio, who got 23 percent.
A father of two from Rockingham who works in the solar industry, Madden was clear throughout the campaign that he considered himself an independent and would decline the nomination if he won it. He said he ran in the GOP primary to get a wider audience for his plan to “rebirth democracy.”
And earlier on Wednesday, Madden said he would only decline the Republican nomination if Vermont GOP leaders agreed not to nominate another Republican to run in November. Madden said he had learned only recently that when nominees bow out after a primary, parties can place another candidate on the ballot.
Madden said later that GOP party chair Paul Dame told him there was “little appetite in the party to support you.” Dame did not return a call for comment.
The presumed front-runner in the race is Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, who handily beat Molly Gray and Louis Meyers to secure the Democratic nomination for the general election in November.
Rep. Scott Beck (R-St. Johnsbury) said that for someone to participate in a party primary with no intention of being that party’s nominee in November was “manipulative” and “gutter politics.”
“In today’s environment, we really need leaders who do what they say and say what they do and are transparent and are not trying to muddle things,” Beck said.
Madden would likely find it very difficult to win broad support as a Republican when he said over and over that he’s not one, Beck reasoned.
“He’s put himself in kind of a box,” Beck said.
Madden said he had been perfectly open about his intention to run as an independent throughout the campaign. He said his message that the two-party system is broken and a new approach is needed resonated with Republican voters.
In a general election, Madden said, he’ll match up well again Balint because he’ll also appeal to independents and some Democrats with his positions against war and in support of renewable energy.