Central Vermont’s best-known travel agent, and maybe-gubernatorial candidate, Scott Milne makes regular appearances on WDEV touting his travel business. He made one such appearance Thursday, near the end of the Morning Show. WDEV’s Mark Johnson, getting ready to open his own daily talk show, seized on the opportunity to grab a few minutes with Milne to inquire about his potential race for Governor. (Click on the link to hear the entire interview.)
And Milne said something very interesting… something I don’t think I’ve ever heard before.
To paraphrase, he’s ready to run for Governor if another high-profile Republican gets in the race. If not, then he’s likely to stay out.
That’s right: Milne wants a primary challenge, and apparently won’t run unless he gets one. (Not counting Emily Peyton, who, well, doesn’t count.) From my own transcription:
If I don’t see at least a narrow path to victory. I’m not doing it to be a placeholder for the Republican Party.
…if we can have an issue-orientated, positive Republican primary, I would very much like to be part of that. I think that narrow path to victory that we spoke about, Mark, is best begotten with a Republican primary. Otherwise we’ve got one of the smoothest, talented politicians running for Governor on the Democratic side in Vermont that we’ve seen for many years, and he’s not gonna talk about issues until September, and in September we’ve got 60 days to get an awful lot of detail, confusion, and direction straightened out, and I just don’t see it being part of a winning strategy.
And really, I think he’s right. If there’s a competitive Republican primary, then the race gets a whole summer’s worth of free media attention, and Republican issues get a full airing.
Milne adds that he’s “hoping that… Randy Brock would step up.” And Milne acknowledges that “I would be an underdog in the primary, and I don’t mind that.”
He’s right there, too: Brock’s been a loyal VTGOP soldier for a long time, and he appeals to the party’s conservative base.
Sounds to me like Milne has his head screwed on straight, in a way uncommon for politicians.
He’s actually willing to put the interests of his party, and the interests of the electorate, ahead of his own. It’s certainly a completely different attitude from that of Brock backer Darcie “Hack” Johnston, who told Paul Heintz that “I’m absolutely saying Scott Milne should not run” because a primary contest would doom Brock’s chances in November.
Oh she of little faith.
Milne says he won’t make a public decision until the filing deadline of June 12, which makes sense if his candidacy depends on another Republican entering the race.
Also refreshing for a political figure: Milne’s sober estimate of his chances at beating Shumlin.
I think there’s about 500 statewide or Congressional races in the country this year. Vermont is essentially a Congressional district in terms of population. … Of the 500 races across the country, I would bet you a cup of coffee there’s at least five people who are longer shots than I, that are gonna win. So, out of the gate, I’ve got a 1% chance, and a 1% chance is a very good starting point.
Please note that Milne isn’t straight-up saying he’s only got a 1% chance; he’s just making a statistical point. But still, it beats the usual happy talk you get from a political longshot.
Milne’s stance sets up a fascinating game of chicken. He won’t run unless Brock does; while Brock’s top supporter doesn’t want a primary. If Brock feels the same way, what happens? A standoff? Milne at the Secretary of State’s office at 4:59 pm on June 12 with a handful of petitions, waiting to see if Brock shows up?
Peyton for Governor?
There wasn’t much talk of issues or positions in the interview; Johnson only had a few minutes of Milne’s time, and his top priority was exploring Milne’s decision-making process. Still, it was an interesting peek into an unconventional political mind. Myself, I kinda hope he runs. If he does, we’d miss out on the sheer mayhem of Emily Peyton leading the Republican ticket; but Scott Milne could make this an interesting campaign, if he accomplishes nothing else.