Nov 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch to seek Leahy's Senate seat

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) speaking during a hearing in May 2020.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) speaking during a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced Monday he will run for the U.S. Senate seat that will be left open after Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) retires in 2022.

Why it matters: Welch's candidacy for Senate was expected, but it now leaves an open race for his at-large seat in the House.

What they're saying: "It shouldn't be hard for your government to help people," Welch said in a video announcing his candidacy.

  • "And yet everything, everything — voting rights, Medicare for all, Green New Deal, lowering prescription drug costs, reproductive justice, racial and economic justice — everything gets filibustered by the Mitch McConnell Republicans in the Senate. They're fighting for failure," he added.

The big picture: Leahy's fellow Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders (I), endorsed Welch shortly after his announcement.

  • "[Welch] understands that now is the time to think big, not small," Sanders said in a tweet. "Peter has the knowledge and experience to fight for a government that works for all, not just the wealthy few."
  • Vermont is the only state that has never elected a woman to Congress, which will likely be considered during the race for Welch's open House seat.

Go deeper: Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy announces retirement

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