Brock bows out of GOP race for governor, Milne ‘on the fence’

Republican State Sen. Randy Brock gives his concession speech at the Capital Plaza Hotel. Photo by Nat Rudarakanchana

Republican State Sen. Randy Brock gives his concession speech at the Capital Plaza Hotel in 2012. Photo by Nat Rudarakanchana/VTDigger

Republican Randy Brock will not seek a rematch with Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Brock, a former state auditor and state senator from Franklin County, was runner-up to Shumlin in the 2012 general election. Brock issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying he believed it was in the best interest of his family to remain out of the race.

“This will be the first time in over ten years that my name will not be on the ballot,” Brock said in a statement. “I will miss the excitement of the campaign trail, the joy of meeting hundreds of new friends every year, the challenge of formulating public policy and the satisfaction of having played a small part in improving the lives and livelihoods of thousands of our citizens. But I believe that this is the right decision for me and my family.”

Brock’s decision could have an immediate impact on the potential candidacy of travel agency owner Scott Milne, who has said his bid was largely contingent on a Republican primary with Brock. If Milne decides not to run it could leave Emily Peyton as the only name on the GOP ballot for governor. The party has not supported her candidacy.

Vermont Republican Party chairman David Sunderland said Sunday that in addition to Milne, there were others in the GOP who were waiting for Brock’s decision and could decide to run.

“I am confident we will have a gubernatorial candidate,” Sunderland said, though he declined to say who has expressed interest.

Sunderland said he had encouraged Brock and Milne to run and said he was disappointed by Brock’s choice.

“He would have been an excellent standard-bearer for the message of the Republican party,” Sunderland said.

Milne said Sunday he, too, was “disappointed” by Brock’s decision but hasn’t ruled out a run.

“I believe that the best chance for a win — for Mr. Brock or Scott Milne — in November against Mr. Shumlin is more likely with an issue orientated primary contest between the two of us over the summer,” Milne said in an email.

In a followup interview, Milne said he would consider a primary run against Peyton alone, though Brock’s decision made it less likely.

“Short of winning, my intent was to have an effect on the discussion,” Milne said, saying a primary with Brock would have focused on bringing leadership to the governor’s office.

Scott Milne is president of Milne Travel American Express. Courtesy photo

Scott Milne is president of Milne Travel American Express. Courtesy photo

Milne, who grew up in the Barre area, now lives in North Pomfret and is president of Milne Travel American Express, said he would be away on business through Wednesday night.

He said he has enough signatures to submit a petition to be placed on the GOP ballot but said he wouldn’t wait until the last minute to file. The deadline for candidates to submit petitions to the Secretary of State’s Office is 5 p.m. Thursday.

“I remain steadfast that Vermont is lacking leadership from the Governor’s office, and that working Vermont families, poor Vermonters, and Vermont’s children will be best served with a new Governor,” Milne wrote in his email.

Milne told VTDigger editor Anne Galloway on Saturday that he was “still on the fence.”

“If Randy’s not going to run, I’ve got to rethink what the path is to victory, which is greatly reduced without a Republican primary,” Milne said Saturday. “It’s a tough row to hoe to beat Shumlin anyway. He’s publicly said he’s not going to talk until after September. I can’t talk to myself all summer.”

If no party-approved candidate emerges for governor, the GOP roster for statewide office could be limited to Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Peyton. No Republicans have declared for the offices of secretary of state, treasurer or auditor.

“We are focused like a laser on legislative races,” Sunderland said. “That’s how we can return the GOP to a place of influence.”

Brock served as state auditor from 2005-2007, narrowly losing a re-election bid in 2006 to then-Democrat Tom Salmon. Brock then served two terms as a state senator from Franklin County before challenging Shumlin in 2012.

Brock’s statement

“I will not be a candidate for Governor of Vermont in 2014.

“This decision has not been easy to reach. I have arrived at it over several months after careful thought, much input and serious deliberation.

“This will be the first time in over ten years that my name will not be on the ballot. I will miss the excitement of the campaign trail, the joy of meeting hundreds of new friends every year, the challenge of formulating public policy and the satisfaction of having played a small part in improving the lives and livelihoods of thousands of our citizens. But I believe that this is the right decision for me and my family.

“I am thankful to the many Vermonters who have called upon me to run. I have heard from people from all over our state offering words of encouragement. This outpouring of support from so many has been extremely heartening and I will always be grateful for their unwavering loyalty.

“Just as I have in the past, I will continue to remain actively involved in helping to shape public policy. I plan to continue to contribute to the debate through critical analysis and commentary. We all have a great deal to do to help improve our state and to better the lives of every Vermonter. My commitment to those ends remains unchanged.”

This article was updated at 5 p.m. and 7:43 p.m. Sunday.

Comments

  1. Darcie Johnston :

    David Sunderland promised a viable candidate for Governor when he ran for VTGOP chair. Now it appears Scott Milne is only interested if he could get between Randy Brock and Peter Shumlin. Milne is not viable and is really only a spoiler.

  2. Dave Bellini :

    For Republicans to not even try, is to completely surrender the agenda, the message and the direction.
    .
    For Vermonters, what’s lost is a debate on the issues.
    .
    Republicans can’t complain about the Governor and the Democratic super majority for the next 30 months.

    • This is true. WE need to holding open debates, one in each county, 14 debates, one topic per debate for deep analysis of policy options, questions generated by the people, with ALL candidates required to attend. 1.5 hours per set of candidates, and in the gyms across the state, aired on cable access, and internet. The restriction of participation of candidates is the major contributor to moneyed politics, as governor I will be most pleased to develop an open and level playing field for inclusive democracy.

  3. Peter Liston :

    The VTGOP talks about how “vulnerable” Peter Shumlin is but they can’t find a viable candidate to run against him.

    I agree with Dave Bellini — if they can’t field a real candidate, they can’t complain about the Shumlin agenda.

  4. boots wardinski :

    scott, you should know better to refer to your self in the 3rd person.

  5. Carl Marcinkowski :

    I am a political independent. The two party system had done very little for the representation on the citizens lately. But worse than a two party race is a one party race. I wish more third party candidates were viable in our state elections so we could rid Montpelier of the political imbalance. There is a lot of important issues to decide and more than one party is necessary to make sure it gets done ‘right’.

    • rosemarie jackowski :

      Carl… I agree. One of the great things about Vermont is the ‘write-in’ option.

      In addition there might be some Liberty Union candidates on the ballot. Unfortunately the Press usually covers only democrats/republicans. Voters have no access to important information and cannot cast an informed vote.

      Nothing will change until voters stop thinking in the D/R box.

    • John Cisar :

      It was officially announced today that Dan Feliciano of Essex is running for Governor against incumbent Peter Shumlin. Dan currently works as a Director at Keurig Green Mountain, and has decades of strategy and consulting experience in healthcare and government. You can learn more about Dan here: http://www.danfeliciano.com/

    • Ron Pulcer :

      Carl,

      As also an independent, I agree that our entrenched Two-Party System has not represented citizens and taxpayers well. But the R/D campaign war chests and Leadership PACs are doing well ($$$).

      I also agree that One-Party Rule is not ideal.

      Ironically, when Emily Peyton ran as an Independent in 2010 and 2012 she was often ignored by some of the Vermont media, as far as debates (the very few debates were on radio or TV, but very few around the state). My guess is that this time she chose one of the “major parties” to get more attention or voice to her campaign.

      For all the complaining about the Governor, I am pretty surprised that R’s haven’t yet fielded a known candidate. With the ACA rollout (there is still a backlog of updates to be made to existing healthcare exchange policies), and lack of a published healthcare financing plan, the GOP dropped the ball this year. .

  6. Walter Carpenter :

    “There is a lot of important issues to decide and more than one party is necessary to make sure it gets done ‘right’.”

    We do have the progressive party. They can, and will, certainly help to make sure it is done “right.”

    • Peter Liston :

      It seems that Vermont has two major parties – Democrats and Progressives.

    • Craig Powers :

      No thanks.

  7. Paul Lorenzini :

    By the way, what was your take on global warming in Morocco, Mr. Milne?

    Was the weather different this year then last?

    Vacationing regularly does not sound very Vermonterish to me, not at your age anyway.

    • David Matthews :

      Hmmm. “Vacationing”. Let me see if I can get my head around that comment. The guy runs a travel business and he’s not expected to travel? Have we become so divided that those on the far left don’t even want to get drawn into a debate in an election campaign with someone who has actually been successful in business and might ask some reasonable questions?

  8. Bob Moyer :

    To follow up on Peter Liston’s comment – we’re on the verge of seeing the Progressives as Vermont’s second major party. Even here, Republicans began becoming irrelevant with their opposition to Civil Unions – and then full marriage equality – over the past 15 years. They have refused to distance themselves sufficiently from the national party and the Tea Partiers to be remotely electable in this state. We need to realize that in this state, the Democrats occupy the center-right spectrum, while the Progressives represent the center-left of our politics.

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