Freilich back, running as independent
WILMINGTON -- After failing to secure the Democratic nomination over six-term incumbent Patrick Leahy, Wilmington physician and naval officer Daniel Freilich is retooling his campaign to run as an independent candidate.
Freilich, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, challenged Leahy in the Aug. 24 statewide primary and tallied roughly 11 percent of the vote. But the political newcomer and Navy doctor also submitted the proper petition signatures and nomination forms months ago to appear on the November ballot as an independent.
During an interview with the Reformer, Freilich said he entered the race as both an independent and Democrat because he was displeased with the Legislature’s recent move to push the primary date up three weeks. The new measure, which went into law without Gov. James Douglas’ signature, also moved the petition deadlines for third party and independent candidates forward as well.
"Part of this had to do because they changed the rules in the middle of the game ... it was a move to keep challengers out," he said. "The issues are more important than the title at the end of the name, i.e., Democrat or Republican."
He will square off against Leahy and Republican candidate Len Britton. Freilich said he is the only major candidate in the race not taking special interest money.
Despite altering his party status, Freilich said he is not rewriting his campaign’s platform. He continues to support a more progressive tax system and health care reform.
"The issues that are important to me are not going to change," he added.
Freilich’s campaign was satisfied with its showing during last month’s primary vote. In a media release, Freilich said "we garnered an astonishing and unprecedented 11 percent of the vote. No prior primary challenger has gotten double digits."
After appearing in West Brattleboro and Guilford over the holiday weekend, Freilich is heading to Windsor County this week before stumping in Burlington.
Chris Garofolo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311 ext. 275.
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