by Robert Maynard
Vermont’s media people seem to be perplexed that the GOP is keeping a secret of who their GOP candidate for Governor may be. In this Vermont Digger article, some major GOP leaders point to the conclusion that the GOP has at least one person in mind:
But whoever this mystery person is, he or she will be the Republican candidate for governor this year.
So say some Republicans who ought to know, most specifically Rep. Don Turner of Milton, the minority leader of the House of Representatives.
Asked if he was worried that no Republican has yet come forward to run for governor, Turner said he “would be if there weren’t somebody coming along to run.”
Turner said he did not know who that “somebody” might be, but that “the party people” had assured him that there was a person who had not simply expressed interest but who had made a commitment to run for governor.
The speculation points to someone not currently holding office: “Both Turner and Scott (and a few other Republicans who didn’t want to be identified) suggested that the mystery person does not now hold public office, and is more likely a business person.” The article then goes on to suggest that someone not holding public office would lack the name recognition needed to give a reasonable challenge to Governor Shumlin. What if this person is not a current office holder, but was one not so long ago. Someone like Brian Dubie would not be all that far from Governor Shumlin when it comes to name recognition.
Another factor is the possibility that Vermont’s insistence on becoming the “Saskatchewan of the U.S.” for health care reform comes back to bite Shumlin and the Democrats just before the elections. With more national attention on the left looking to Vermont as the model of health care reform that even President Obama is committed to, a stumble on this as the elections draws near could get national publicity. That could trump the name recognition problem in a hurry. A Randy Brock campaign running on the theme of “see I told you so,” could get real traction under such circumstances. This is not outside the realm of possibility. The IT rollout is a small part of the overall plan and there is plenty of room to mess the rest up if they cannot even get that part right. That is not to say the GOP’s chances are great, but there are some possibilities that the Vermont Digger article seems to be ignoring.