Douglas says Dubie would be most qualified Republican to succeed him

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie would be the most qualified Republican to run for governor in 2010 if Dubie decides to become a candidate.

Douglas says he thinks other potential G-O-P candidates should defer to Dubie if the lieutenant governor launches a gubernatorial bid.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) For past seven years, Douglas and Dubie have fostered a team approach to their relationship.  Dubie, a commercial airline pilot, often refers to himself as the governor’s "co-pilot" on many issues.

Speaking on VPR’s Vermont Edition, Douglas said Dubie’s "hands-on" experience will be a big asset if he decides to run for governor in 2010.

(Douglas) "I believe he is eminently qualified for the job. He’s worked with me closely during the 3½ terms of my administration. There’s no one who has had as much direct experience in observing the governorship and how it works than Brian. So, I think he’s the most qualified choice right now. But it’s something only he can decide."

(Kinzel) There’s speculation about a number of other possible Republican candidates, including Martha Rainville, who was defeated by Peter Welch in the 2006 U.S. House race, Senators Randy Brock and Kevin Mullin, former Rutland Senator John Bloomer, former House Speaker Walt Freed, and a handful of current Vermont House members.

Douglas hopes these individuals will choose not to run if Dubie becomes a candidate.

(Douglas) "He’s well liked. He’s down to earth. He’s a smart guy and knows a lot about state government and I think will be deferred to if he wants to pursue the nomination. I think he’s entitled to some time. He’s indicated he will take that to reflect on his options, talk with his family, close advisors, and we’ll see what happens."

(Kinzel) If Dubie does decide to run, would Douglas consider stepping down next summer so that Dubie could be acting governor for the several months leading up the election?   Douglas says absolutely not.

(Douglas) "That’s not my plan. I’ve got a lot of work to do with the Legislature, a lot of projects on the table. I plan to continue to work every day for Vermonters for another 16 months."

(Kinzel) Dubie says he hopes to reach a final decision about his political future in the next few weeks.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier

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