IDX Chairman contemplates Senate run

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(Host) Burlington businessman, Richard Tarrant, says he’s thinking seriously about running for the U.S. Senate next year. Tarrant says that a primary for the Republican nomination would not deter him from entering the race.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Richard Tarrant is the co-founder and chairman of IDX Systems, a South Burlington medical software company. He was in the Statehouse to offer his expertise on the role of information technology in health care reform. But first, he answered questions about his possible run for the U.S. Senate.

(Tarrant) “Right now, I’m putting together a plan, probably attacking it too much like a businessman. But that’s how I do things. So I’m looking at resources, staff, timetables, milestones, budgets, things you do in a business environment that probably change every other week in a political environment.”

(Dillon) Last week, Governor, Jim Douglas, took himself out of the race for the seat that opens up next year when Senator Jim Jeffords retires.

Republican Lieutenant Governor, Brian Dubie, has said he’s also interested in the race. Tarrant says he’s not dissuaded by a possible GOP primary.

(Tarrant) “No. No, it doesn’t. I’m not a politician, so I’m not sure I understand all the pros and cons of a primary. Some people say it’s a good thing. Some people say it’s not a good thing, because it’s a late primary. So I don’t know the science behind that.”

(Dillon) Tarrant is sixty-two and has never held public office. He declined to say what issues he would raise in the campaign, or what qualifies him to be a U.S. Senator.

(Tarrant) “Well, I’m not ready to go there yet until I am a candidate.”

(Dillon) Independent Congressman, Bernie Sanders, has all but announced that he will run for Jeffords’ seat. That leaves Democrats with a dilemma. Sanders is a strong candidate and usually votes with Democrats. Yet some in the party may not want to give him a pass in the race.

Officials in the national party have said they could support Sanders. And many Democrats hope that in exchange, Sanders would endorse Democrats in the governor’s contest and the race for U.S. House. They also want Sanders to try to keep Progressive Party candidates out of those races.

State Party Chairman, Peter Mallary, says there’s no deal yet.

(Mallary) “I don’t know if such a deal could be brokered. I’m sure there will be lots of conversations about the landscape.”

(Dillon) Richard Tarrant says he’s fairly committed to the Senate race, but will wait until mid-summer to officially announce. By then, Democrats will probably have decided whether they’ll run a candidate themselves.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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