Democratic Race For US House Narrows As Mitchell Drops Out

Aug 9, 2018

The field of Democratic nominees for Vermont’s seat in the U.S. House narrowed Thursday after one of the three candidates abruptly withdrew from the race. 

Ahead of next week's Aug. 14 primary incumbent Rep. Peter Welch has been debating challengers Dan Freilich — a physician and U.S. Navy captain — and educator Ben Mitchell.

Both Mitchell and Freilich have made corporate donations and money from political action committees central to their campaigns against Welch, who has defended taking such contributions as essential in the wake of the Citizens United court case.

During a debate on Vermont Edition Thursday, Mitchell, a self-described Democratic Socialist, withdrew from the race and endorsed Freilich's bid to unseat Welch.

Ben Mitchell endorsed challenger Dan Freilich in his bid to unseat Congressman Peter Welch during Thursday's debate on "Vermont Edition."
Credit Anna Ste. Marie / VPR

"We don’t agree on everything," Mitchell began, "but I know that you understand the idea of opioids, you understand the issues there, you understand single-payer healthcare. And that I think that we need someone to represent Vermont, who does not represent the corporations, who represents the actual people of Vermont."

"So you have my endorsement, I’m officially dropping out of the race as of this moment." 

More from Vermont Edition — Campaign 2018: A Debate With The Democratic Candidates For U.S. House [Aug. 9]

Freilich is now the sole challenger to Rep. Welch as he seeks his seventh term as Vermont’s representative in the U.S. House, a job he’s held since 2006.

The winner of Tuesday's primary will face the the Republican nominee in November's general election.

Vermont’s 2018 primary election will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The Vermont Secretary of State’s website has election-related information regarding voter registration, where your polling place is and more. Find VPR’s candidate interviews and profiles online here.