Welch moves from home to senate to succeed Leahy in Vermont

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Democratic US Representative Peter Welch easily defeated a little-known Republican challenger to win the Senate seat vacated by Patrick Leahy, the longest-serving member of the upper chamber.

Welch, who was elected to the House in 2006 and has since won reelection every two years by one-sided votes, defeated Republican Gerald Malloy, a retired U.S. Army officer backed by former President Donald Trump.

In a year when the parties struggle for control of the Senate, Welch’s election keeps the deep-blue state’s seat secure in the Democratic column.

Welch presented himself as someone capable of working down the aisle and finding common ground with Republican colleagues in a hyper-partisan era.

Leahy, who was first elected to the Senate in 1974, was the last of the so-called “Watergate Babies” elected to Congress after former President Richard Nixon’s resignation that year.

Welch was a deputy head of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

In his bid for the Senate, Welch spent nearly $2.5 million this election cycle, and as of September 30, he had nearly $2.7 million in the bank.

Malloy said he was a traditional pro-life conservative who believes that regulating abortion should be left to the states.

Welch was born in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont in 1974, where he first worked as a public defender. He was a longtime member of the Vermont Senate, and was the first president of the Democratic Senate pro tempore. In 2006, he won the U.S. House seat, which was vacated when Bernie Sanders moved from the House to the Senate.