The answers are rolling in

Two of the larger questions for Deadline Day have been answered: Scott Milne and Shap Smith are in the running.

Milne finally announced that he’s in as a Republican candidate for Governor. He did so this morning on WDEV’s “Mark Johnson Show.” (Link is to interview podcast; following quotes are taken from Paul “The Huntsman” Heintz at Seven Days.) Curiously, he left the door very slightly open for a last-second change of heart:

You know, if [former governor] Jim Douglas calls me up and says, ‘Scott, I want you to step aside because I’m coming back’ or I get hit by lightning today or something like that, there’s always the chance something could change. But I have petitions ready and plan on being a full-fledged candidate for governor by the end of the day.

He acknowledged he would be an underfunded longshot against Governor Shumlin. He invoked the underdog’s favorite meme:

…We’ll be working on a grassroots organization enabling folks to get to know me and the folks I’m going to be surrounded with a little bit better.

He estimated he would try to raise and spend about $200,000. That would, indeed, be a different kind of campaign; Randy Brock spent more than 600K and his only regret was he ran out of money to pour on his political bonfire.  

Milne’s a different kind of politico, and he might actually make things interesting — in the abstract sense, not in the “he stands a chance” sense. He’s certainly a good person to make the case for a new, more inclusive Republican Party.

After the jump: Milne unconsciously criticizes Jim Douglas… and a little praise for the Speaker.

One other comment worthy of note: Milne dinged Shumlin as a career politician who only knows one thing:

I think Gov. Shumlin has been, I think, getting elected pretty much since he was 24 years old,” Milne said. “I think with folks that have been getting elected every two years or every four years for 10 or 20 or 30 years, in Gov. Shumlin’s case, your filters become more about what you need to do to be successful politically.

Unintentionally ironic on two levels: First of all, Shumlin was a successful businessman — in Milne’s own line of work, travel. And second, Milne could have said the very same thing about his own Patron Saint, Jim Douglas, who was first elected to public office at age 25 and stayed there, with one brief interruption, until he was sixty years old.

In other news, Shap Smith will run for another term. And presumably win, and retain the Speakership.

In the end, I realized I really like the job and I thought that there was work left to be done on education, education finance, health care and health care finance,” Smith told Seven Days. “And I really wanted to finish that work, if my constituents give me the opportunity.

Noble sentiments, although I doubt that any living soul is going to ever “finish that work.” There’s always more boulders to roll up the lawmaking mountain.

I’ve been critical of Shap often enough in the past, but I have a lot of respect for his political skills and his body of work as Speaker. He’s to my right on some key issues, but overall he’s been an asset to the Democratic agenda. He’s like the swimming duck, placid on the surface and paddling furiously underneath. If he weren’t Speaker, we might find out just how hard the job really is.  

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