"Phil" Baruth? Since When? | Off Message

"Phil" Baruth? Since When?

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Maybe you've seen the lawn signs — bright blue placards with white letters imploring you to re-elect someone named "Phil Baruth" to the state Senate this November.

We definitely remember a guy named "Philip Baruth." He was an author, English professor at UVM, political blogger, VPR commentator and was elected to represent Chittenden County in the state Senate in 2010. It appears that Philip Baruth still works at UVM. And the state's official 2012 candidate roster lists a Philip Baruth, but no Phil.

So who is this Phil Baruth? Seven Days launched a resource-intensive investigation to learn the truth. But after numerous public records requests, dozens of scathing editorials and many nights of digging through Philip Baruth's trash, we were no closer to an answer.

So we picked up the phone, dialed Philip Baruth and asked him.

"The easiest answer is, all my life people have called me both," said Phil/Philip. "And when I got elected two years ago, basically everybody in Montpelier called me Phil. And I liked it."

Baruth says that if re-elected, he'll make the switch to Phil permanent. At least for his political identity. His professorial persona is another matter.

Whether Phil or Philip, it sure beats his childhood nickname — Philly. "My mother, grandfather and grandmother called me Philly," Baruth says.

Damn. Now, there's a campaign sign we'd love to see.

Photo by Andy Bromage