On Tuesday, November 3, 1992, Congressman Bernie Sanders won Vermont’s U.S. House of Representatives seat with a landslide 57% of the vote: a whopping 162,724 votes to Republican Tim Philbin’s 86,901 votes. The election coincided with the elections of other federal and state offices, including a quadrennial presidential election and an election to the U.S. Senate.
The digital sparring between Sanders and Philbin was dubbed “The Fax War ” in reference to the late 20th Century communications device used to send documents before email. Both idealogues were “on the offensive” from day one. Bernie did not hold back on Philbin’s abortion opposition, even in cases of rape and incest, and highlighted his own 100% pro-choice voting record. Philbin responded by accusing the successful budget-balancer Sanders of misrepresenting his position and supporting “fat budgets and high taxes.”
“George Bush, the Supreme Court, and candidates like Mr. Philbin have declared war on a women’s right to choose,” said Sanders.
Philbin responded the next day in a faxed message titled “Truth-O-Gram” with his inaccurate take on Sanders’ track record on the issues.
The next topic for debate was family leave, with the candidates sending multiple faxes within minutes about the issue.
Sanders’ team then issued a press release summarizing the statement he made earlier that day on the House floor in support of the Family Leave Bill, which the House later passed 241 – 161.
Commenting on the Family Leave Bill, he said in a press statement: “How dare (Bush), Mr. Family Values himself threatened to veto this legislation when Germany guarantees 14 weeks at full pay, France 16 weeks at 90% pay, and Canada 15 weeks at 60% pay.
The two Vermont candidates drowned out any chance the Democratic and Liberty Union candidates may have had to become contenders for the House seat.