Hogan Leaves GOP Primary, Will Run as Independent

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(Host) Gubernatorial candidate Con Hogan has dropped out of the Republican primary and say’s he’ll run instead as an independent in November.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Ever since he announced his candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, most GOP officials have been urging Con Hogan to drop out of the race. Many of them had already endorsed state Treasurer Jim Douglas for governor and they wanted to avoid a divisive party primary.

Hogan says he is giving them their wish: He’s dropping out of the Republican primary but he also plans to pursue an independent candidacy for governor.

Hogan says it became very clear as he traveled around the state that many GOP officials had become bitter and resentful about his candidacy:

(Hogan) “My goal when I began this process was to bring a lot more people into the Republican process, thinking that that was a good thing and a service. And I still feel that way, but the Party itself does not wish me to do this. So I have listened and I have made that decision.”

(Kinzel) It’s likely that there will be at least four candidates for governor on the November ballot. Hogan thinks he has a reasonable chance to win the race as an Independent:

(Hogan) “I learned first-hand what others have learned, and that is that the real soul of Vermont these days really is independent. Most people are not party affiliated and that was a very important consideration.”

(Kinzel) Douglas was in Washington, D.C., attending the national conference of State Treasurers. Speaking by cell phone on the streets of the nation’s capital, Douglas said Hogan’s decision will not have much impact on his own campaign:

(Douglas) “I decided to run for governor before we knew whether Howard Dean was going to run, whether we knew Bernie Sanders was going to run. I’ve been focused on my own campaign and I’m unconcerned about who the other contenders might be. I don’t care if there is one independent or five, I’m going to take my message of fiscal responsibility¿to the people of Vermont and I’m very optimistic about the outcome.”

(Kinzel) Hogan will hold a press conference on Thursday to talk about his decision.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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