Petition urges Dubie to run for Governor

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(Host) An online petition is urging Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie to run for governor now that Jim Douglas says he plans to retire.

At the same time, state Auditor Tom Salmon is debating whether to get into the race to support Douglas’ fiscal policies.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Joe Sinagra is the executive director of the Vermont Homebuilders Association, and over the past few years, he’s been a strong supporter of Lt. Governor Brian Dubie.

Sinagra has launched a Facebook page to encourage Vermonters to post their public support for Dubie.

The three announced Democratic candidates, state senators Doug Racine and Susan Bartlett and Secretary of State Deb Markowitz have similar Facebook sites.

Sinagra says more people have registered at his site, than at all of the Democratic sites, and he thinks that’s a good sign: 

(Sinagra) "We’re trying to show there are hundreds of people who are already – 16 months out – committed to not just voting for Brian but helping him being elected the next governor."

(Kinzel) Middlebury College political science professor emeritus Eric Davis says most possible GOP candidates will defer to Dubie but Davis says Party leaders want an answer from the Lt. Governor soon:

(Davis) "The Republicans are going to face a difficult situation with the strong Democratic trends in the state. So having a single candidate around whom the party can unite – and begin to raise money for the general election, get organized, hire staff, get around the state and meet people is something that many Republicans think should happen sooner rather than later."

(Kinzel) Democratic Auditor Tom Salmon has surprised many party members by saying that he’s looking at the possibility of running for governor as a Republican or an independent.

In a recent interview, Salmon said the Democratic Party has drifted too far to the left, and while many Democrats oppose the fiscal policies of Governor Douglas, he supports them:

(Salmon) "The state needs to have a sound financial future and the path that he has been on regarding that has been one that needs to be instituted."

(Kinzel) Professor Davis says Salmon faces a major dilemma:

(Davis) "His views on fiscal issues are more conservative than the mainstream of the Democratic Party so it’s unlikely that he could win a contested Democratic primary yet he has been a Democrat throughout his political career his father was a Democratic governor so he would find it difficult to win a contested Republican primary as well because in such a contest the Republicans would tend to prefer someone who has paid his or her own dues in the Republican Party.

(Kinzel) If Dubie decides not run for governor, Davis thinks Dubie will also choose not to seek re-election as Lt. Governor  – if that happens Davis thinks a lot of Republicans will consider running for the state’s top two offices.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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