The painfully earnest, or possibly constipated, gent above is Jon Christiano, Republican candidate for state House in the Addison-5 district. Unlike some of his fellow Republicans, he can’t be called a stealth conservative because he makes no secret of it.
This is Christiano’s second bid for elective office. In 2020, he finished fourth in a race for two seats. He got less than 14% of the vote, while the two winners, Ruth Hardy and Chris Bray, got 33% and 31% respectively. Addison-5 is currently represented by conservative Republican Harvey Smith, so Christiano may well earn a place in the next Legislature. (The district got a bit more liberal in redistricting; it lost part of New Haven and gained territory in Middlebury. There’s hope for Democrat Jubilee McGill.)
Christiano has a campaign Facebook page from his 2020 run (with a robust 25 followers) that makes his extremism abundantly clear. Christiano refers to abortion as the killing of “innocent, defenseless babies,” so I think we can count him as a “No” on Article 22. He called the Legislature’s approval of noncitizen voting in Montpelier and Winooski part of the “Progressive, Socialist and Communist” plot to “destroy the Constitution and every aspect of American life.” He shared an article that made some downright bizarre accusations about Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. To wit:
That’s some heady stuff, even by Covid denialist standards.
He also shared this little graphic, which manages to include trans panic and racism in one brief sentence:
Gee, I don’t think anyone asked you to apologize for how you were born. What you’ve become since then, well, that’s on you.
Christiano is a big fan of “Farmer John” Klar, the extremist currently running for state Senate in Orange County. Christiano urged his (ahem, twenty-five) followers to donate to Klar’s then-pending legal battle over the “BLACK LIVES MATTER” slogan painted on Montpelier’s State Street (Klar managed to collect $4,526 out of his goal of $15,000), and urged followers to join the Vermont Liberty Network, another of Klar’s very short-lived ventures.
Christiano posted a pair of photos from a 2020 sign-waving that showed Lynn and Lloyd Dike waving Christiano signs. Lynn is a candidate for House this year and Lloyd is running for Senate. Their public support for Christiano tells you all you need to know about their politics.
Christiano is a big fan of babies, but not of child care. He declares it to be the responsibility of the parents, and opposes any public aid for parents or child care providers. And he thinks the Global Warming Solutions Act is “insane.”
All in all, another Kindly Old Extremist on the Republican ticket. You know, if there were a handful of these folks, you might dismiss it. But there are a LOT of these people on the Republican ticket, as there are in party leadership (cough*FELKER*cough).
This isn’t a matter of a few extremists distorting the image of the party. This is the Vermont Republican Party. Aside from Phil Scott, it really is no different than the national Republican Party. The only difference is that our extremist party is safely confined to permanent minority status, and even Scott wants nothing to do with them.