Garrett Graff, a Montpelier native who moved back to Vermont last fall after more than 11 years in Washington, D.C., has decided not to run for lieutenant governor, after all.
Graff, 34, who now lives in Burlington, made the announcement on Facebook on Tuesday. “I am not going to run for elected office this year,” Graff said in the post. He did not return a call seeking comment.
Questions about Graff’s eligibility to run caused uncertainty about his potential candidacy from the start. Those unanticipated concerns ultimately prompted his decision not to run, he said.
“I didn’t anticipate that my move home would erupt into a debate about who is and who is not a Vermonter,” Graff said on Facebook. “It’s become clear that the ambiguity around this question of residency would color every aspect of a potential campaign, and, simply put, that’s not the conversation I wanted to spend this year having with Vermonters.”
The Vermont Constitution stipulates that a lieutenant governor has to have lived in the state for at least four years preceding election. Graff argued that he remained a Vermont resident even as he lived in Washington because he always intended to return, retained his Vermont driver’s license and was still registered to vote here at his parents’ Montpelier address.
His situation has prompted Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham) to consider legislation clarifying what determines residency for a candidate to be eligible.
Graff, a former editor of Politico Magazine, registered as a 2016 Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in December, but on the candidacy form, he answered the question, “Running in this election?” with “I don’t know.”
Graff said on Facebook that he still hopes to be involved in helping Vermont overcome challenges. “I’ve grown concerned in recent years watching the state struggle with how to balance the future with its unique traditions and way of life,” he said. “I’ve long attributed the success I’ve had in life with the values and education I received growing up in Vermont, and I’m worried that we’re not on track to provide that same strong foundation to the next generation.”