Democrat Becca Balint has made history in Vermont by winning the state’s lone House seat, becoming the first woman and openly gay representative there to be elected to Congress.
With nearly all precincts reporting, Fox News’ Decision Desk says Balint has captured 175,384 votes, defeating Liam Madden, an independent running as a Republican who received 78,053 votes.
“Tonight we reaffirmed that Vermont and the nation is still a place where anything is possible. We are all so capable of change and promise and progress, and tonight, after 231 years, Vermonters are sending a woman to Congress,” Balint said to cheers during a speech in Burlington Tuesday night.
Going into the midterms, Vermont was the only state in the country to have never sent a woman to Congress.
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The rare opening in the state’s three-member congressional delegation occurred after long-serving U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, announced last November that he would not seek re-election. Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch ran for Leahy’s seat, opening up Vermont’s one seat in the U.S. House.
In the Democratic primary, Balint beat Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, a more centrist candidate who was supported by the state’s Democratic establishment, including Leahy and former Govs. Howard Dean and Madeleine Kunin. Balint gained support from the progressive wing of the party, including independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The 54-year-old from Brattleboro has served four terms in the Vermont Senate, including as majority leader from 2017 to 2020. A former history and social studies teacher, she was elected state Senate president in 2021, becoming the first woman and first openly gay person to serve in that role.
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Balint wants to protect voter rights, and is concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court and what she calls its lack of transparency. She would like to see term limits for the court and for federal judges, as well as for members of Congress.
Balint also hoped her campaign would inspire more young people and people of diverse backgrounds to run for office, “whether they’re LGBTQ young people, people of color, people who come from working class backgrounds who never imagined that they could run for office.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.