Scott says Dame “would be a good choice”
CORRECTION: Earlier editions of this story provided the wrong location for the state committee meeting Saturday. It will take place at 10 AM at the Delta Hotel in South Burlington.
By Guy Page
Two Essex Junction men will be candidates for Vermont Republican Party Chair at the annual meeting of the state committee Saturday.
Paul Dame, a lawmaker from 2014-18, yesterday announced he will be a candidate for Chair of the Vermont Republican Party. Sexton, an activist supporting police, pro-life issues and the Second Amendment who ran as a write-in for governor last year, announced today.
Dame, an active volunteer in the state party, will seek the nomination at the State Committee meeting this Saturday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Delta Hotel in South Burlington. Current chair Deb Billado announced last week she will not seek re-election, citing job responsibilities.
Rep. Samantha Lefebvre of Orange will seek election as vice-chair (see announcement).
Dame was a two-term member of the Vermont House of Representatives for Essex Junction, elected in 2014. He was nominated for Vermont Senate in 2018 but lost in the general election. A businessman in Williston, he graduated from high school at Otter Valley Union High School in Brandon and received a BA from the University of Vermont.
Dame announced his candidacy by YouTube video last night.
“Our family had had an experience with the single-payer healthcare system in another country, and we wanted to keep that as part of our past, and not part of our future, because it just doesn’t work,” Dame said. “We wanted a future that worked. So I got involved with my town and my county committee almost 10 years ago, and after that I decided to run for office.”
His experience as a legislator prepared him to lead the party, Dame said.
“While I was in office I learned a lot about how the Legislature works, and how it doesn’t – things that I didn’t know before I got involved for myself,” he said. “So I know what it’s like to appeal to the average Vermont voter and I was able to win support from independents and even Democrats who told me I was literally the only Republican that they would vote for – all this after I had earned 100 rating by the American Conservative Union based on my voting record.”
He’s very pragmatic about what it will take to restore Vermont to a more conservative path.
“In order to have a bigger impact on shaping the future of Vermont, we simply need to elect more Republicans who can share that vision,” Dame said. “In order to elect more Republicans, we need to attract more voters. And to attract more voters, we need the volunteers and the staff willing to put in the time and the effort required to do what it takes to win those top races.”
A flyer distributed by Sexton today notes that the former auto parts and lumber yard manager is an organizer of, and frequent speaker at, rallies for veterans, police, Second Amendment gun rights and patriot advocacy events. The flyer also states that he is pro-life and pro-parent’s rights.
Sexton also is a Chittenden County Public Delegate and Chittenden County GOP Platform Committee member. On Social media, he is also an outspoken critic of Gov. Phil Scott for what Sexton says are his non-Republican, progressive policies and decisions.
When asked about the state chair opening today, Gov. Phil Scott said he knows Dame and worked with him when they both served as legislators. “I won’t be attending, but I think he would be a good choice,” Scott said at his press conference. He didn’t mention Sexton.