Must be something funny in the water up Lamoille County way. The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Libertarian Party of Vermont claims a total of six candidates for the Legislature, all of them running as Republican/Libertarians. They include previous stealth conservative Rebecca Pitre, House candidate Spencer Sherman, and Senate candidate (and perennial also-ran) Dexter Lefavour.
The other three are all from Lamoille County. And they’re running in a pair of two-seat districts, Lamoille-Washington and Lamoille-2, that have been reliably Democratic for a while now. For the VTGOP to be running Libertarians in these districts speaks of a certain amount of desperation. That, or the VTGOP mainstream is the same body of water as the Libertarian puddle. Lamoille-2 is currently represented by Democrats Kate Donnally and Dan Noyes; Lamoille-Washington’s sole incumbent candidate is Avram Patt. His running mate is Saudia Lamont.
Pictured above with putative moderate Gov. Phil Scott is Nichole Loati, candidate in Lamoille-Washington. Her ticketmate is Ben Olsen, who doesn’t bear the Libertarian brand but seems to agree with Loati on pretty much everything. The R/L’s in Lamoille-2 are Richard Bailey and Mac Teale.
This post will focus on Loati, but these four candidates seem like peas in an ideological pod. Loati’s campaign website reveals little of this. She presents herself as “a married mama of six and a small business owner” and describes her politics as “fiscally conservative, socially moderate and hyper-focused on America’s constitution.” (Lower case hers)
But then you get to the details and it becomes clear that while she’s definitely fiscally conservative, she isn’t that socially liberal. Really, it’s hard to find any distinction between Loati and your typical stealth conservative.
Makes you wonder, again, why Phil Scott endorsed her. You might also wonder why she’s been endorsed by other pillars of Republican moderation: former governor Jim Douglas, outgoing state Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, and Lamoille’s perpetual Senator, Richard Westman. Is it time to stop pretending there are two kinds of Republicans, the extremists and the moderates? They’re all on the same side this fall.Continue reading