VTDigger’s hit-or-miss political columnist Jon Margolis served up a home run this morning: a generous smorgasbord of hints, rumors, carefully worded statements, and (probably) feints on the number-one subject of pointless political speculation of The Year 2014:
Who’s running for Governor on the Republican ticket?
Margolis starts out by saying it’s “a mystery man. Or perhaps a mystery woman.” But even so, having given away the ending right off the bat, he still manages a column that’s both informative and intriguing.
Heading the Intrigue Parade is Don Turner, the House Minority Leader, who says there is a person, identity TBD, who has “made a commitment to run for governor.” Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott wasn’t quite as singular as Turner, but he says he’s been informed that “there will be a candidate.”
Well, duh. It’d be awfully damn embarrassing if there was a blank on the GOP line. But it’d be almost as embarrassing if the party had to resort to the likes of John MacGovern or Jack McMullen or… hmm… Wendy Wilton. (“Hey, look! We got a lady candidate!”)
Or, good God in Heaven, party treasurer Mark “Acorn” Snelling (the nut fallen from a mighty oak), who told Margolis he is considering a run for Gov. Considering all he hasn’t done to rebuild the party’s finances, he’d be only a slight improvement on the retread losers named above. His only asset is the distant echo of name recognition from his father’s time in the corner office — which ended almost a quarter-century ago.
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.
Hmmm, a “business person.” That leaves out those two free-market stalwarts who’ve ensconced themselves firmly in the nonprofit sector, John “El Jefe General” McLaughry and Rob Roper. It could be one of a number of former Jim Douglas functionaries who skedaddled to the private sector. Neale Lunderville? David O’Brien? Tom Evslin?
I’ll add a couple more qualifiers of my own. It has to be someone self-deluded enough to think s/he can defeat Governor Shumlin, and deep-pocketed enough to self-fund a competitive campaign.
Rich Tarrant or one of the Webgrocer Tarrants? Perhaps, but my money’s on another guy. Here he is, suitably disguised to preserve the mystery.
In case you haven’t got it, the reveal… after the jump.
Our old friend, Skip “The Gas Man” Vallee. Stalwart Republican donor, past candidate for office, possessor of a goodly fortune, narcissistic enough to have pondered a challenge to Bernie Sanders last time around.
Considering all the fuss Skippy made over Bernie’s “high gas prices in Chittenden County” expose, I’d say he has to be itching for another chance to take on a high-profile Democrat. And itching badly enough to open up his wallet for a campaign.
If he’s interested, I’m sure the VTGOP would be happy to let him have the top spot. At the very least, he’d make it an entertaining — even though uncompetitive — campaign.
C’mon, everybody! The Gas Man for Governor!