With the announcement that Dean Corren is the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, as well as the Progressive candidate, lonely Republican Phil Scott is on notice that he won’t be able to coast to reelection.
This will be strange for Scott, whose biggest challenges in recent years have come from within his own party, which refused to retool its pervasively losing strategies.
Scott will finally have to draw some distinguishing lines in the sand rather than simply rely, GW-style, on being the guy with whom voters would most like to have a beer.
That is going to be awkward for the happy fence sitter.
Some of those lines of distinction have already been drawn by the manner in which the two candidates are funding their campaigns:
The Progressive and Democratic unity candidate challenging the incumbent is publicly financed thanks to raising over 800 small donations from only Vermont voters. He is limited to spending $200,000. Meanwhile, the Republican incumbent is following a path of collecting big donations from PACs, corporations and wealthy supporters. Over 82% of the $162,041 he’s raised comes from these sources.
The Shumlin/Milne matchup looks to be a weary rerun of Shumlin/Brock.
By contrast, the Governor Lite debates should prove fascinating.
Most interesting will be engagements over environmental issues. An area of strength for Corren, questions on the environment will force Scott to commit to public positions favored by the Republican minority or risk losing his base.
This is not something he has been eager to do in the past, but is of proven significance to Vermont voters, and therefore cannot be avoided.
Scott would probably much rather talk about the economy and all the Chamber events he has graced as Lt. Governor.
Heads up, Mr. Scott; this year’s election ain’t no Chamber mixer.