Benning, Thayer vie for GOP Lt. Gov. nomination

by Guy Page

State House veteran Sen. Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) will seek the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor – and so will conservative activist Greg Thayer of Rutland.

The lieutenant governor’s seat will be open for the second straight election. First-term incumbent Lt. Gov. Molly Gray is the early frontrunner in the three-way race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Congress – a seat held by Rep. Peter Welch since 2006 but open because Welch is running (virtually unopposed, so far) for the Senate seat held since 1974 by retiring Patrick Leahy. In the race with Gray are Sen. Becca Balint (Windham) and Kesha Ram Hinsdale (Chittenden).

Thayer confirmed Saturday he is running for Lt. Governor. Benning told Vermont Daily Chronicle he’s running last week.

Benning and Thayer offer Republican voters a sharp contrast.

Benning, a Lyndon-based criminal defense lawyer, has been a state senator since 2011. He chairs the Senate Institutions Committee and has served as minority leader for the GOP caucus.

Thayer, a Rutland accountant, has never served under the Golden Dome. He is a former member of the Rutland City Council and has 35 years of civic and political experience in Rutland and statewide. He is the founder of Vermonters for Vermont, a grassroots organization opposing vaccine and mask mandates and teaching Critical Race Theory in schools.

Benning voted April 9, 2021 on the Senate floor in favor of Proposition 5, the proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion in the Vermont Constitution. On the first of two crucial Senate votes on H57, the 2020 bill removing all restrictions on abortion, Benning voted yes. On the second, he voted no.

Thayer is a longtime, vocal opponent of legalized abortion. He attended and spoke briefly at the Vermont Right to Life Rally for Life Saturday.

Like Gov. Phil Scott, Benning was an outspoken critic of supposedly “extremist” Republicans who rode the Vermont bus to hear President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 speech in Washington, D.C.. In an op-ed, he even wondered if any of them played a role in storming the Capitol building.

Thayer has participated in many subsequent grassroots events led by the bus trip organizer, Ellie Martin of Underhill.

On the Democratic side, longtime State House insider and centrist Rep. Charlie Kimbell of Woodstock and Vermont Council on Foreign Affairs Executive Director Patricia Preston have announced their plans to run for lieutenant governor. For LG’s David Zuckerman and Doug Racine both are considering getting their old job back, VT Digger reports.

19 replies »

  1. I’ll start the discussion. I think the voters and the legislature should keep their hands off of our constitution. Since Mr. Benning (not from Vermont) voted for this atrocity allowing an abortion as a right, up until the birth, I find that disgusting. Why should the right to an abortion be written in to our constitution as an amendment? Vermont will allow the death of a baby written into our sacred rights? What about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness for the unborn? Vermont will also allow you to kill yourself with drugs, as in suicide. Vermont has become the death state.

    We also could use a LT. governor who has not spent the last 20 years glad handing and slapping each other on the back while destroying Vermont. The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over expecting a change. If we keep sending the same people to office, nothing will change. I am a born and raised here Vermonter. Our lives have been turned over to a carpetbagger legislature that will tax anything that moves or stands still. The time for change and to save our constitution is now.

  2. Joe Benning should NOT receive any GOP endorsement.
    He is a Rino. See his email reply to me:

    Re: How the machines stole the election

    Since you insist on bringing this up, here’s another suggestion. At last count there were well over 500 criminal indictments filed against individuals who participated in the January 6th insurrection. Each indictment is accompanied by an affidavit of probable cause that describes the individual, their alleged motivation, and what gave a federal judge probable cause to determine whether the charge should stand.

    It is apparent that nothing I say to you is something you are willing to consider, but please, do yourself a favor and read a few of those affidavits of probable cause. Each one actually cites the affiliation of those who were able to be identified. I’ve seen dozens of Proud Boys, III Percenters, Q-Anon and Donald Trump supporters (all calling themselves “Patriots”), but in my book a “Patriot” isn’t somebody who gets whipped up with emotion based on internet conspiracy theories and then invades the Capital intending to stop the counting of legally certified state ballots and “Hang Mike Pence.”

    If you stop to think about it, Biden got elected. What could possibly motivate Pelosi and Company to stop him from being legally certified?

    I’m done with conspiracy theories and Facebook warriors. Feel free to vote me out in the next primary.

    Joe Benning
    Vermont State Senator
    Caledonia District

    • Sir, as expected this is the reply you will always get from people like him. I did similar letter writing at the beginning of all this and got 2 responses. A form letter and a letter stating that “what can we do” concerning the illegal “lockdowns and mask and demand for vax shots(that kill people ) He is referring to “probable cause ” (not even nessessary).. Have we all forgotten the NDAA/Patriot Act allows for INDEFINITE DETENTION of any and all alleged terrorist Nothing about rights or any such silliness. They renew it regularly to be sure they can continue what they do. With it they can come to you, detain you for any amount of time and in any condition they want and never actually charge you with a crime.
      Here’s another one so near and dear to Vermonters. Pot/ Cannibas is “legal to grow, smoke, eat , whatever “here in VERMONT. BUT remember the federal statute is still in force and they can come to your home/work/farm and drag you away in chains. Take all your stuff and good luck getting it back. What about Asset Forfeiture, In many cases you even have that WITHOUT being charged for a crime. The all listen to the MSM they are taught to ignore people like you , literally taught . To only use the MSM for information. To ignore real science and to go on “feelings” instead of facts and those pesky things. Lastly have/did you notice that he hit on ALL the leftist talking points with no guilt or compunction to spread it around like it is/was real. Bet he even thinks all blacks steal and want to rape all the white women too. He is a Democrat if I ever heard one and his letter and his voting record show you the evidence. His callousness is standard for a these people.

  3. we need someone running against Peter Welch…tooo long in politics for me! and the other significant race mentioned here (Thank you Guy Page) for Welch’s current position…..I can see no good here

  4. “Like Gov. Phil Scott, Benning was an outspoken critic of supposedly “extremist” Republicans who rode the Vermont bus to hear President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 speech in Washington, D.C.. In an op-ed, he even wondered if any of them played a role in storming the Capitol building.”
    Myself and my wife went to Washington, D.C. and none of us Vermonters DID NOT STORM the capital!!! Was either Scott or Benning there??? Of course not and yet they seem to know what happened!!! They are both staunch supporters for biden. I’m tired of them thinking that we were EXTREMIST!!! And Benning voting for Prop 5 has just bought himself a one way ticket to hell,,,,

  5. We need a fresh voice and someone who can stand up to wokeism in this state. I believe that Gregory Thayer is our man.

  6. First let me explain that I have been actively working to have Governor Scott removed from the Republican Party of Vermont for more than a year. I have written and submitted a Rule Change proposal to the State GOP Committee expressly to address politicians that self identify as republican but are in fact left/far left with their agenda.
    When Phil Scott was asked about my petition to remove him from the Republican Party last year he personally attacked 117,000 Vermonters by calling us White Supremacists and Racist.
    Joe Benning did an interview on WCAX the following day where he not only repeated what Scott said, he doubled down on it by suggesting we weren’t Republicans and didn’t belong in the party.
    Benning’s support of Prop 5 also proves who he is.
    If he wants to be Lieutenant Governor of Vermont he should try as democrat.
    Because Benning has proven he is no more a Republican than Scott or Sanders.
    Gregory Thayer is one of my best friends. And he spent a great of time, energy and his own money traveling all over Vermont last year to create Town Hall meetings where he and other Patriots spoke against CRT, Marxism, and for the Constitutions of Vermont and America.

  7. To address the question of someone to run against Welch, there will be an announcement shortly of a Real Vermont Republican that is going take the seat vacated by Leahy.
    And there will be many more great Republican candidates to vote for this year.
    Changes are coming.

    • Any candidates to run for Secretary of State? Our voting system has to be transparent. It isn’t. Our current Secretary of State will not even consider changes to make elections secure and easy to audit.

      • Our election are secure, and easy to audit. They are also user friendly and inclusive to enth degree. Because of this, Republicans can only grovel for votes, for they are in other parts of this divided land, the masters of rigging elections. More people voting, and those people voting their interests are what Republicans fear the most. For, they have no policies, let alone ones that help the majority of folks.

      • Secure and easy to audit? My son, who hasn’t lived in Vermont for at least ten years, just received a solicitation (‘due to Covid-19 and social distancing’) encourgaing him to ‘vote through absentee ballot’. The invitation to request his ‘mail-in ballot’ was sent to my home address – to vote in a school district election in which he has never lived.

        What? Me worry.

        P.S. After all, an absentee ballot is a terrible thing to waste.

      • Ivan, your delusion is impressive and sad. My house receives mail in ballots for people who haven’t lived here for over twenty years. This is not the definition of “secure”. Elections where Mail-in ballots are a significant proportion of the total and not amenable to audit because once accepted, these ballots are indistinct from valid ballots, cast by a qualified voter.

        You will note I did not say the 2020 election was fraudulent. I don’t know that
        – neither do you because there is no means to determine whether ballots cats were verified and properly handled.

        Religion mantras such as “most secure election ever” are not convincing to anyone.

  8. We need a fresh voice in state leadership for Lt. Govenor. I believe that Gregory Thayer is the man!!

  9. What Benning stands for is absolutely disgusting in every sense! He does not deserve to call himself a true Republican. He does not support true American and would rather consider us extremist and racist . That is no way to treat the people who have voted him in. I personally can vouch for Greg Thayer and tell you all that when he is called upon to help protect our children he is not afraid to call out the progressives that are harming our youth. He is a true warrior in speaking truth and citing unity at the same time! I couldn’t imagine not voting for a true conservative who loves America and wants to keep America free as it was intended to be by our founding fathers!

    • Klar is Planning a Run for US House , Hansen is Tied in Now with the Ethan Allen Institute . Greg Thayer is Our Man . Boots on the Ground , Trying to help the People of VT . Joe Benning is a Snake in the Grass

      • Meg Hansen is a Board Member of the Ethan Allen Institute. Why does that mean she can’t run? She ran for LG in 2020 and built up a loyal following. Many are rooting for her to run again this year. If she runs for LG, she can win this time.

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