Speculation as Dubie weighs gubernatorial run

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(Host) It’s likely that it will be another week before Lt. Governor Brian Dubie announces if he’ll seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2010.

Some political observers think GOP officials are putting a lot of pressure on Dubie to run, because the Republicans don’t have many other high profile candidates.

But GOP director Rob Roper says his Party has a number of people who could step up and wage an effective gubernatorial campaign – including State Auditor Tom Salmon.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) There’s no doubt where Governor Jim Douglas stands on the question of who is the most qualified Republican candidate to run for governor next year – it’s the person who served 4 terms with him as Lt. Governor – Brian Dubie. But Douglas wants to be certain that Dubie fully understands the enormous demands of this job:

(Douglas) "I hope he’ll decide to do it on the other hand I’ve made it clear to him that this has to be a personal decision something that weighs his family and career considerations he has to undertake with a clear understanding that it’s a different level of commitment – namely 24/7."

(Kinzel) It’s been almost a month since Douglas announced that he wouldn’t be a candidate for re-election.  UVM political science professor Garrison Nelson thinks the delay is a strong indication that Dubie isn’t going to run:

(Nelson) "He’s dawdling on this decision. Ordinarily had the office come open he would have announced within 48 hours but that is not the case."

(Kinzel) Nelson says GOP officials are leaning on Dubie to run because Nelson doesn’t think the Party has any other strong candidates:

(Nelson) "Because once again, the Republican cupboard is bare. They don’t control either house of the Legislature…and you know Tom Salmon is now a Republican statewide office holder. But he has not won as a Republican, so I think the Republican Party at this point without Dubie is desperate. And I think Dubie is hesitant about having to become the champion of a party that really has diminished resources."

(Kinzel) Republican state director Rob Roper thinks Nelson’s theories are dead wrong. If Dubie decides not to run, Roper says people like state senator Randy Brock, state auditor Tom Salmon and Stimulus director Tom Evslin, would all be very strong candidates:

(Roper) "All these people are very articulate and I think will be excellent campaigners. I think that going into 2010, Republicans have a much better than average shot at maintaining the governorship regardless of who the candidate is."         

(Kinzel) Roper thinks Dubie is taking time to make a decision because there are many factors to consider:

(Roper) "He has a job with American Airlines, he’s got four kids in college, there are a lot of moving parts to his decision. So I respect the fact that it’s taking him awhile because it is a lot to deal with and we’re being patient."

(Kinzel) If Dubie decides to run it’s unlikely that he’ll face a strong primary challenge – however on the Democratic side the situation is very different because three candidates have already entered the race and several other people are considering a gubernatorial bid.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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