Submitted for your consideration: Jarrod Sammis, Republican candidate for House in the Rutland-3 district and assiduous scrubber of his past social media activity.
There’s good reason for that. Said activity includes a nice helping of far-right ideology and stuff about guns. Lots and lots and lots of guns. Also, hints of militia leanings.
Until reapportionment, Rutland-3 was a two-person district including Castleton, Fair Haven, Hubbardton and West Haven. It was solidly Republican; its representatives are Bob Helm and Bill Canfield, who rarely drew Democratic opposition of any sort. “Rutland-3” is one-seat Castleton now; the other three towns are in other districts. Helm is retiring; Canfield is running in another district.
Since he won the primary in August, Sammis has been a busy bee. He’s appeared at many campaign events with many fellow Republicans including, um:
In future, I’d advise Governor Nice GuyTM to check credentials before letting himself be photographed with a candidate who (being charitable here) he’s never heard of before. It might come back to bite him in the plausibly moderate ass.
Sammis is opposed by Democrat Mary Droege, a credible candidate. But Rutland-3 looks to be Republican territory, which means Mr. Sammis may well be showing up in Montpelier in January. Here’s what he’d bring to the table.
Within the last few days, Sammis apparently wiped his entire YouTube channel. He had good reason to do so. It included numerous videos of Sammis happily firing an assortment of high-powered firearms, including assault weapons. The most disturbing video was a 30-second spot entitled “Beware the Rainbow Unicorn.” Here’s the beast in question.
I watched this video once before it was removed. As I recall, an off-screen voice asks the unicorn if he hates socialists and communists. The unicorn nods his head vigorously. He is then given an assault weapon. He turns around and blasts away at some brush in the background.
For context, “Rainbow Unicorns” is a Tennessee-based militia organization with a heavy YouTube presence of its own. Unlike Sammis, they aren’t running for public office so they aren’t hiding their beliefs.
Sammis’ now-deleted YouTube channel bore the name “JARRODES13.” “E’ is his middle initial, S his last. The “13” may be a reference to the Aryan Circle, a Texas-based white supremacist group that uses 13 as a cognomen signifying the first and third letters of the alphabet.
If you think I’m reaching, well, militia groups are very fond of these little games.
Whether or not he’s a militia fan or just a guy who loves firing semiautomatic firearms in the woods (cough*Banyai*cough), there’s plenty of other material that shows where his heart lies.
This is a screenshot of a Sammis video clipped and saved by a diligent citizen. In it, Sammis says “Biden probably won. [whispers] Biden probably cheated.” Yep, he’s an election truther. Which makes sense, because he endorsed fellow election truther Gregory Thayer’s bid for lieutenant governor. That’s the Gregory Thayer who organized a bus trip to the January 6 insurrection.
IN late September, Sammis made an appearance on Thayer’s low-rent community access TV show. He did his best to answer Thayer’s out-there questions without letting his “reasonable” facade slip too badly. But slip it did, ohhhhh yeah.
Sammis danced around Covid denialism without coming right out and saying as much. He did offer praise for Florida’s keep-it-all-open pandemic policy, claimed that Covid vaccines had been “sent to market prematurely,” and decried “the politicization of public health” during the pandemic.
Referring to our workforce shortages, Thayer moaned that “People are staying home because the government is doing way too much” to help them. Sammis didn’t disagree; in fact, he said that “we went from a situation where people were struggling to survive to ‘OK, we’re going to take care of you now.'”
See, there’s no real threat to health and no economic or social disruption. It’s just that you people are lazy bastards.
When asked why he was running, Sammis talked about businesses struggling under the weight of excessive taxation and regulation. “We are so encompassed by the sheer amount of regulation that there isn’t liberty,” he said.
Finally, on climate change he cast doubt on the reality and said we should do nothing about it. “Whether people subscribe to global warming or not,” he said, “we have to keep the numbers in mind.”
“Or not” is something only a denialist would say.
“The numbers” are population figures. Vermont, he said, is so small that we’re just a drop in the rising flood tides of climate change. Anything we do will have no real effect.
Problem is, any jurisdiction could say the same thing. Even India or China could say, “Well, if we unilaterally stop burning fossil fuels, climate change will go on AND we’ll pay the economic price.” The point isn’t that Vermont or Wyoming or France or Brazil can end global warming on their own; it’s that we all have to do our part.
One more picture. This is Sammis, Thayer, state Rep. Sally Achey, and state Senate candidate Terry Williams (who may get an entry of his own in this ongoing series) at a fundraiser for… wait for it… the First Step Pregnancy Clinic, an anti-abortion outfit that specializes in convincing vulnerable women to bear their child, no matter what the circumstances.
This might shed some light on the fact that, when asked by the Rutland Herald, Sammis claimed to oppose Article 22 because it didn’t go far enough in guaranteeing individual liberty. (He also dodged the 2020 election question in that article.) Methinks he fabricated himself an allegedly plausible reason for voting “No,” because anti-abortion is polling terribly. But why is he proudly attending a fundraiser for a fake “pregnancy center?”
There’s the evidence. Sammis is definitely a stealth conservative who’s gone to great lengths to conceal his extremist beliefs. He may also be a militiaman or, at least, militia-adjacent. Again, you can vote for him if you want, but you ought to know who he is and what he stands for.