This has to be the world record for throwing cold water on a hot idea.
Rep. Heidi Scheuermann will not run for governor.
Roughly 12 hours after I posited a best-case scenario for Vermont Republicans — an issues-based, convincingly moderate primary campaign between Scheuermann and businessman Scott Milne — it evaporated in the cold, cruel light of political reality.
The Republican from Stowe says she started her exploration of a gubernatorial bid too late, and she doesn’t have the time to build the kind of campaign she needs to run against Gov. Peter Shumlin, the two-term incumbent Democrat.
She’s right, of course. It’s awfully late to start a campaign from scratch, which is what she (or any Shumlin challenger other than, oh, Bruce Lisman) would have to do. Especially Scott Milne, who’s out of the country right now and told the Burlington Freeploid that he “would make no decision on running for a month.
Clock’s ticking, Scotty boy. In fact, a month from yesterday, when he made the comment, happens to be the filing deadline for gubernatorial candidates. “A month” is, literally, the last possible moment to launch a campaign.
And if Milne, or anyone else, was seriously going to mount a competitive race against the well-entrenched and very deep-pocketed Shumlin, the time for decisions passed at least six months ago.
I tell ya, for the sake of the VTGOP’s credibility, Milne had better say yes. Otherwise, the primary field consists of… er… Emily Peyton, perpetual fringe candidate. She of the hand-lettered trash-bag yard signs.
12 hours ago, the VTGOP had an honest-to-goodness positive scenario in front of ’em. Now, things are looking bleak as usual. It’s either wait for Milne, desperately search for another candidate, or — worst-case — enter the primary season with only Peyton on the GOP ballot, and have to mount a monumentally embarrassing write-in campaign for Randy Brock or some other willing victim.
Too bad. Scheuermann would have faced huge obstacles: lack of name recognition outside of Stowe and Montpelier, no money, and a Republican machine that’s drastically underfunded and disorganized. But she would have brought interesting positives: moderate politics (by Republican standards), and a relatively young female as the new face of the Bitter Old White Men’s Party.
She might have been able to pry away some of the moderate business types who’ve been bankrolling Shumlin in the absence of a convincing Republican alternative. And, as a somewhat soft-spoken female, she could have exploited Shumlin’s tendency to be overly self-assured and even condescending. I could easily see him putting his foot in his mouth during a Shumlin/Scheuermann debate, by appearing dismissive of a female challenger.
It wouldn’t have been enough for Scheuermann to actually beat the Governor, but it would have been interesting, and it would have positioned the VTGOP for a brighter future.
Oh well. Scheuermann in 2016?