Conservative Republican Gerald Malloy hopes to win over Vermont’s right in US Senate primary

Gerald Malloy. Campaign photo

Last week’s University of New Hampshire poll surprised some pundits when it showed political newcomer Gerald Malloy leading in the Republican primary for Vermont’s open U.S. Senate seat. 

In the UNH Survey Center poll, commissioned by WCAX, 30% of likely Republican primary voters said they would vote for Malloy, compared to 24% for former U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan. That lead was inside the poll’s 7% margin of error, effectively putting the candidates neck-and-neck, pollsters said, and 42% of those surveyed said they were still undecided. 

Malloy, a graduate of West Point, spent over 22 years in the Army, serving in the Middle East during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. After leaving active duty in 2006, he worked in emergency management operations, and later in business management. Malloy, 60, was born in Boston and has resided in Vermont for two years. He lives in Perkinsville, a village of Weathersfield in Windsor County. 

A self-proclaimed “conservative Republican,” Malloy differentiates himself from Nolan, who was long considered the frontrunner in the race, by positioning himself further to the right. He has said he does not support any additional gun control legislation, and he would vote to ban abortions federally without any exceptions. Nolan has said she supports federal access to abortion and supported the bipartisan gun safety package that passed in Congress in June.

Nolan has significantly outraised Malloy since announcing her Senate bid in late February, and she has earned the support of prominent Vermont Republicans, including Gov. Phil Scott, as well as lawmakers in Washington

Yet the same poll showed that Malloy trailed the former federal prosecutor in name recognition by just 11 points. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of Malloy, compared to 28% for Nolan.

Malloy’s strong poll numbers come as some observers speculate that more conservative candidates may have an advantage in Vermont’s open primary, which this year is dominated by high-profile Democratic contests.

Malloy’s campaign did not make the candidate available for an interview. 

Although Malloy has avoided explicitly identifying with former President Donald Trump, he did tell Vermont Public he voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, and some of his policies and rhetoric echo the last president. He stresses his immigration platform, namely constructing a wall at the country’s southern border, to, among other things, stop the flow of fentanyl into the U.S. Malloy has also spoken of “saving our country” from what he calls “failed progressive policies” promoted by President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders.  

Asked about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Malloy told Vermont Public he “wished” he’d been there to protest, but added that the people who broke the law — such as those who attacked law enforcement officers — need to be held accountable.

A fiscal and foreign policy hawk — signaled in his ubiquitous raptor-bearing road signs with the slogan “Deploy Malloy” — the candidate opposes Biden’s decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan, and he wants to pursue economic policies to reduce the nation’s more than $30 trillion debt. 

Were Malloy to win the Republican primary, he would likely face U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., in the general election. Since Welch took office in 2007, the national debt has more than tripled. “That gets you fired,” Malloy said Monday at an economic forum sponsored by the Vermont GOP in St. Albans, celebrating his personal platform of deficit reduction and increased affordability. Energy independence for the U.S., using both fossil fuels and renewables, features prominently in his campaign messaging as a proposed way to reduce inflation. 

At the forum, Malloy identified two primary barriers to the creation of affordable homes. First, regulations such as Act 250 make development — especially for cheaper homes — too cumbersome. Second, the state needs to invest in infrastructure outside town centers to support the needed growth, he said, ostensibly referring to town sewer and water systems. 

Asked about law enforcement, Malloy voiced unequivocal support. “I’m looking to fund the police,” he said in St. Albans. If he had his way, the U.S. would “hopefully get the leadership in our government to do away with the progressive prosecutor movement, and start making the courts do their job, and giving the police the resources to do their job.”

“That’s really to me what the Constitution’s all about: having just enough order so we can all enjoy the liberty and freedom and rights of the Constitution,” he said.

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Ethan Weinstein

About Ethan

Ethan Weinstein is a general assignment reporter focusing on Windsor County and the surrounding area. Previously, he worked as an assistant editor for the Mountain Times and wrote for the Vermont Standard.

Email: [email protected]

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