News Analysis

Madden, surprise winner of GOP primary has low campaign profile, so far

Cites tight finances, promises more activity as Election Day approaches

By Guy Page

Where is Liam Madden?

More than a month after stunning the Vermont Republican establishment by winning the Vermont GOP primary for U.S. Congress, Bellows Falls’ resident Liam Madden’s campaign can be characterized as low key. 

Liam Madden campaign photo

With November 8 just 56 days away, and mailed ballots arriving in the mail by October 1, Madden’s Facebook site has a mere 117 followers. It includes several recent posts, some explicitly campaign-related and others more generally thought-provoking. His campaign events seem to be mostly media debates, forums and panel discussions. 

By contrast to Madden’s deliberate pace, both Balint and Libertarian nominee Ericka Redic have kept a busy schedule of parades, forums, interviews etc. – a level of activity more common among party nominees running for national office two months before Election Day. 

I am actively campaigning,” Madden wrote to Vermont Daily Chronicle in response to an email inquiry. “My website has several events listed in the coming weeks on my events section (Take Part heading).”

And the yard signs are coming. “You’ll be seeing several thousand yard signs being distributed after they arrive next week. VPR is producing a statewide story about my candidacy.”

The campaign has been hampered by work demands in his fulltime job with a solar power developer.  

“But if you mean that I’m less visible than Balint, that’s because I still have a day job that can’t be abandoned,” Madden said. 

Which is not to say that Madden has gone completely dark. VTDigger has him scheduled to appear in the Thursday, Sept. 15, online debate with Balint and Libertarian candidate Ericka Redic, who lost to Madden in the GOP primary. 

In late August, he wrote a well-reasoned analysis of Democratic nominee Becca Balint’s accepting PAC money donated almost exclusively by a cryptocurrency executive. This column was the basis for a VDC analysis on Balint’s likely role (if she wins) in the efforts to pass cryptocurrency regulation legislation in the 2023 session of Congress.

But those are virtually the only recent mentions of Madden or his candidacy in Vermont media uncovered in a recent Google search. 

The quiet campaign leaves Vermont Republicans wondering if the GOP will have an active candidate. 

“I haven’t heard much from him either,” GOP Chair Paul Dame said this morning. “But to be honest I hadn’t heard much from him before he won the primary either. Maybe he’s focused on getting ready for Thursday’s debate?”

Which is no doubt true – as are the demands of providing for his family. 

Still, the quiet campaign (so far) appears at odds with his energetic campaigning before the primary, and his insistence afterwards on accepting the nomination – which before the election he said he would decline. He explained his change of mind on not fully understanding, until after August 9, how the nomination process works. He said he thought he would be free to decline the nomination and have no-one appointed in his place, thus leaving him free to run as an independent against Balint. 

Campaign activity will pick up, Madden promised.

“I am seeing that pretty much only you are giving my op-eds any visibility, so I’ve been switching efforts to asking supporters to write letters to the editor in their local papers,” Madden told VDC.

“I am pretty cut-throat with expecting my resources to get me a significant return on investment, including (especially) time investment. So instead of going to fairs and shaking hands with strangers one by one, my time budget has been more allocated toward having volunteer meetings to coordinate my network and leverage my supporters.

“Also, like I did with the primary, I will reserve much of my spending to the latter part of the election cycle, where I think it has more effect,” Madden said. “Don’t worry, I will make some more waves.”

Categories: News Analysis

12 replies »

  1. Is it news that VTGOP Chair Dame hasn’t heard from Madden ?
    Despite Chairman Dame’s excitement that Madden won the Republican Primary, proving Chairman Dame’s ” Big Tent ” agenda a success in his words.
    Madden continues to espouse that he is not a Republican.
    Given that reality, why would Mr. Dame expect to hear from Madden about anything ?
    All Madden’s win in the Primary proved was that the VTGOP is in disarray.
    There are Real Vermont Republicans that believe in the VTGOP Platform and they are succeeding.
    Your voice matters, make them hear you by voting for someone who actually represents you and your family.

  2. Madden should do the right thing and excuse himself from this race. He’s just not interested and is in the way for change that’s needed in Vermont. What is this guy thinking? If he’s a plant by Progressives, then he should at least admit it. Show some dignity for pete’s sake…

  3. One Congressional seat – one seat of representation in the US Congress. What an absolute disgrace this race turned into and how it happened. Vermont is a cesspool of corruption.

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