He ran as the Liberty Union candidate for governor of Vermont in 19 and as a candidate for U. The 1976 campaign proved to be the zenith of Liberty Union's influence, with Sanders collecting 11,000 votes for governor and the party.
This forced the races for lieutenant governor and secretary of state to be decided by the state legislature when its vote total prevented either the Republican or Democratic candidates for those offices from garnering a majority of votes.
Sanders castigated the pro-development incumbent as an ally of prominent shopping center developer Antonio Pomerleau, while Paquette warned of ruin for Burlington if Sanders was elected.
The Sanders campaign was bolstered by a wave of optimistic volunteers as well as by a series of endorsements from university professors, social welfare agencies, and the police union.
Sanders applied for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War; his application was eventually turned down, by which point he was too old to be drafted.
Although he opposed the war, Sanders never criticized those who fought and has been a strong supporter of veterans' benefits.
It was noted by The Washington Post and others as the first election of a socialist to the United States House of Representatives in decades.
Sanders served in the House from 1991 until he became a senator in 2007.
Sanders's effort was further aided by the decision of the candidate of the Citizens Party, Greg Guma, to exit the race so as not to split the progressive vote.
Two other candidates in the race, independents Richard Bove and Joe Mc Grath, proved to be essentially non-factors in the campaign, with the battle coming down to Paquette and Sanders.
The campaign drained the finances and energy of the Liberty Union, however, and in October 1977, less than a year after the conclusion of the 1976 campaign, Sanders and the Liberty Union candidate for attorney general, Nancy Kaufman, announced their retirement from the party.