(Host) Lt. Governor Brian Dubie has ended weeks of speculation by announcing that he will seek the Republican nomination for governor next year.
Dubie says he’s running because he’s very concerned about the long term financial condition of the state.
VPRs Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) It was exactly five weeks ago that Governor Douglas surprised Vermont’s political world and announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election to a fifth term in office.
While a number of Democrats have announced their intention to run for governor, all potential Republican candidates deferred to Dubie and made it clear that they wouldn’t run if the 4 term Lt. Governor decided to become a candidate.
Dubie says he’s seeking his party’s nomination because he thinks a collaborative approach is needed to solve the state’s serious financial problems and he says his leadership skills as Lt. Governor show that he’s up to this challenge:
(Dubie) "It seems like the best thing for me to do is continue to try to find solutions – especially going forward – understanding that the challenges that we face going forward are really historic in proportion. The fiscal challenges that we face, the experience that I’ve gained as Vermont’s Lt. Governor leads me to conclude that I’m compelled to be a part of this solution as we confront these challenges."
(Kinzel) Dubie says the state can’t spend more money than it takes in and he doesn’t think raising taxes is a viable option to help balance the state budget:
(Dubie) "I’ve never taken a pledge, I’ve never taken a no new tax pledge, so consistent with the fact that I haven’t done that I don’t think it’s helpful to talk about it in a recession. The fact that the last legislative session went there…that’s not where I think we need to focus."
(Kinzel) Eric Davis is a political science professor emeritus at Middlebury College. He thinks Dubie will want to focus primarily on fiscal issues:
(Davis) "The Lt. Governor’s strategy is going to be to portray himself as in the mainstream of Vermont politics when it comes to issues of taxing and spending and to portray the democratic majority in the Legislature as out of the mainstream. Dubie would like the campaign to focus on economic issues, taxes and the level of state spending."
(Kinzel) And Davis thinks the Democratic candidate will have a different strategy:
(Davis) "The Democrats on the other hand are going to try to portray the Lt. Governor as out of the mainstream on the social issues and their views, the Democrats’ views on issues such as abortion, gay marriag,e civil partnership rights and so forth to be closer to what they say as the mainstream of Vermont political opinion."
(Kinzel) While it’s unlikely that Dubie will face any strong opposition in the Republican primary, the Democratic primary could have as many as 5 candidates.
Secretary of State Deb Markowitz and state senators Susan Bartlett and Doug Racine are in the race and it’s likely that Senate President Peter Shumlin and former state senator Matt Dunne will announce their candidacies in the next few weeks.
For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.