(Host) Wednesday’s decision by Con Hogan to launch an independent campaign for governor potentially sets up a unprecedented political contest in Vermont. Four major candidates may soon line up to run for governor: Hogan, Progressive Party candidate Anthony Pollina, Democrat Doug Racine and Republican James Douglas.
Racine says Hogan’s decision could help his chances. And Pollina says the race is now wide open.
VPR’s John Dillon talked to both politicians.
(Dillon) As far as Lieutenant Governor Doug Racine is concerned, Con Hogan is still a Republican.
Racine says Hogan has defined himself as a longtime member of the GOP. And he says that even as an independent, Hogan will probably still split the vote with Republican Jim Douglas:
(Racine) “I don’t think it has that negative an impact on me. I think in fact, it could have a very positive impact. Con Hogan is a Republican. He was running as a Republican. He is announcing he’s running as an independent, but I think he and Jim Douglas are now going to be competing for the Republican votes – votes that probably weren’t going to me anyway. So I have felt pretty confident I can win this race and I still feel pretty confident.”
(Dillon) Racine says Hogan’s decision to run as an independent makes it possible that no candidate will win over 50% of the vote. If that happens, the race goes to the Legislature:
(Racine) “I have felt that in a two-way race against Mr. Douglas I can get more than 50%. And I still feel that even if it’s a three-person race with Mr. Hogan I can still get over 50%. There’s still a possibility for a Progressive candidate in this race, and it’s possible that the vote does get divided up. But I believe the Legislature will do the right thing and elect the candidate who has the highest number of votes.”
(Dillon) There’s more than a remote possibility that the gubernatorial race will include four major candidates. Progressive Party candidate Anthony Pollina says Hogan’s decision throws the race wide open.
Pollina says he’s still undecided whether he’ll run for governor or lieutenant governor. But he says Hogan’s choice to run outside the party takes away the argument that a Progressive candidate would be a spoiler in the race:
(Pollina) “Hearing about it right now – meaning as new information for me that I’ve gain literally over the last couple of minutes – it is making me think long and hard and in some ways may nudge me more toward that race. I think a four-way race would be not only exciting, but a four-way race would make it that much more likely that a Progressive candidateÂ¿ could capture that much more of the vote.”
(Dillon) Pollina says he wants to take another week or so before he definitely makes up his mind on whether to run for governor or lieutenant governor.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.