Leahy Strolls to Victory in Vermont

Posted August 24, 2010 at 10:35pm

Updated: Aug. 25, 8:43 a.m.

Primary night in Vermont on Tuesday propelled Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch into the general election as favorites to earn new terms in November.

Leahy overwhelmed his only primary challenger, Daniel Freilich, 89 percent to 11 percent with two-thirds of precincts reporting.

Freilich, a Navy veteran and doctor, may have made his name on a TV ad that parodied Old Spice commercials.

“Anything is possible when your Senator votes with his conscience and not his pocketbook,” he concludes in the ad. “I’m Daniel Freilich, and I approve of this message. I’m on a cow. Hee-yah!”

First elected in 1974, Leahy will face Republican businessman Len Britton in the general election. Britton didn’t have a primary challenger. Through Aug. 4, Britton had raised nearly $100,000 to Leahy’s almost $3.3 million.

Despite his loss, Freilich will still be on the general election ballot as an Independent. Five other third-party candidates will also be on the ballot.

In the race for Vermont’s at-large House seat, three Republicans ran to oppose Welch.

With 89 percent of precincts reporting, former radio talk show host Paul Beaudry led businessman John Mitchell, 44 percent to 40 percent. Small-business owner Keith Stern had 15 percent of the vote. Beaudry hosted the conservative show “True North Radio” until he left in April to run for Congress. Before the radio show, he served in the Army for more than 20 years.

Welch was first elected to replace now-Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) in 2006. In 2008, he ran on both the Democratic and Republican ballot lines and easily won re-election with 83 percent of the vote.

Vermont’s Elections and Campaign Finance Division does not provide election night results. Instead, the state canvassing board will meet on the morning of Aug. 31 and post official results by noon.