Randy Brock, a former state auditor and senator, announced Thursday that he'll seek the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.
The Swanton resident and retired risk management officer called the position the “right fit” for his skill set. Because the job comes with few constitutional obligations, he said, he could use it as a “bully pulpit” to advance long-term policy solutions.
“The more I’ve thought about it in recent years, it provides a platform — call it a soapbox — that I think can be a really valuable catalyst for good ideas,” he said.
Brock served one term as state auditor and two in the state Senate before unsuccessfully challenging Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin in the 2012 gubernatorial race. He lost 58 to 38 percent.
“I was certainly looking at the Senate seat in Franklin County, and that certainly had great appeal, as well,” he said Thursday.
Though he has been characterized as a member of the Vermont Republican Party’s conservative wing, Brock said he sees himself as “part of the sensible center.” He noted that he’s pro-choice, voted to close Vermont Yankee and, as a justice of the peace, has officiated at gay weddings. In 2009, Brock voted against legalizing gay marriage, but he said Thursday that he has since “evolved” on the issue.
Brock said he’d hired Brad Ferland as his campaign manager and expects to hold a formal kickoff “sometime down the road.”
Brock is the first Republican to enter the race. Incumbent Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, also a Republican, announced last month that he’d be giving up the seat to run for governor in 2016. Though many Democrats have expressed interest in the race, only Brandon Riker, a 28-year-old Marlboro Democrat, has formally declared his candidacy.
As the Vermont Press Bureau’s Neal Goswami first reported, Brock had been in conversations in recent weeks with his former campaign treasurer, Mark Snelling, about who should run for lieutenant governor. Snelling, a Starksboro Republican and businessman, unsuccessfully sought the nomination in 2010.
According to Snelling, Brock turned down his invitation to have a “civil discussion” with him and other potential GOP candidates.
“I’m disappointed that he has gone ahead and announced that he’s running,” Snelling said Thursday.
But Brock’s entry into the race won’t necessarily stop his former ally.
“Right at the moment I think I would say I’m leaning towards running,” Snelling said.