Image of Vermont Senate Leader Becca Balint, who won the Vermont Democratic primary for its lone House seat on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Balint for Congress Facebook
Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Vermont Senate Leader Becca Balint took a step closer to becoming the first woman and first openly gay person to represent the state in Congress after winning the Democratic nomination on Tuesday.
Balint dominated what was initially thought to be a close race between her and Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, grabbing 60% of the vote ahead of Gray's 36%.
Balint will face Republican Liam Madden for Vermont's lone House seat in November's general election. Madden, who describes himself as an independent, defeated two conservatives in the GOP primary.
"I'm humbled and honored by this victory," Balint said on Twitter. "This was only possible because of people from every corner of Vermont who banded together to work and vote for a brighter future. This is your victory because this has always been a movement by and for all VTers. Together we made history."
Gray conceded during a speech in Burlington late Tuesday night.
"I can say that while my disappointment is profound, so too is my gratitude for this opportunity," Gray said, according to VTDigger.com. "This was a deeply tough race with incredibly qualified candidates making their case to Vermonters.
"If someone had told me years ago that running for Congress was something that a farm kid from Newbury could do, I wouldn't have believed it."
Madden, a Marine veteran, rejected the thought of Balint entering the race as the favorite and said he has the right message that will resonate with all Vermonters.
"I truly believe we need many perspectives to see and understand our challenges well," Madden said in a message on Facebook. "I take this vote of confidence in my call to rebirth our constitutional democracy as a sacred responsibility to improve the processes that enable us to work together toward a healthier, more just, more thriving and more sustainable way of living."