Salmon Weighs Options For 2012 Election

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(Host) State Auditor Tom Salmon says he wants to play a key role in the debate over Vermont’s future in the 2012 elections.

As part of that plan, Salmon says it’s likely that he’ll run for governor or the U.S. Senate next year.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Salmon says the time has come for Vermonters to engage in a vigorous discussion over policies to help strengthen the state economy and to make Vermont a more affordable place to live.

Salmon was elected auditor in 2006 as a Democrat, was re-elected in 2008, and then switched parties and ran as a Republican in 2010.

He’s decided not to seek re-election in 2012 because he hopes to run for governor or the U.S. Senate.

(Salmon) "I would like to run for one of those two spots and raise those issues. I will say that for me, again, faith and full commitment is where magic happens. There weren’t 10 people who thought I could win in ’06. There aren’t five people who think I can beat Senator Sanders. But the good news is I’m one of the less than five that thinks I can win. So there we go."

(Kinzel) Former Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie is considering another bid for governor. He says he’ll make up his mind next month.  If Dubie doesn’t run, Salmon says running for governor would be his top option.

(Salmon) "Yeah, I think it would be a sincere path. I mean I always ask myself, ‘Is it a sincere path where can I use my solution-oriented commitment, creativity and the ability to get people to work together.’"

(Kinzel) Retired Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis says any Republican candidate faces a tough race unseating Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2012.  That’s because no incumbent Vermont governor has lost a re-election race in almost 50 years.

(Davis) "Incumbents have great advantages in terms of getting themselves in the news all the time, traveling around the state, meeting with voters, attending events, the ability to raise money. Putting all those things together, running against an incumbent governor is a difficult proposition in Vermont."

(Kinzel) Davis thinks it’s likely that former State Auditor Randy Brock, who currently serves as a senator from Franklin County, will seek his old office next year now that there’s a vacancy. And Davis thinks this scenario presents an interesting opportunity for Brian Dubie.

(Davis) "That would open up a Senate seat in Franklin County and Brian Dubie moved his voting residence from Essex to Franklin County. So I wouldn’t be surprised that Brian Dubie might think about the Vermont Senate as the next stage in his political career."

(Kinzel) While Governor Shumlin has been actively fundraising for a re-election bid, he says he’s not prepared to make a formal announcement at this time.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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