Walters: Holcombe Considering Run for Governor | Off Message

Walters: Holcombe Considering Run for Governor


  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Rebecca Holcombe
Former Agency of Education secretary Rebecca Holcombe is seriously considering a run for Vermont governor as a Democrat in 2020.

"I'm in the exploratory phase," Holcombe said. "I love the state of Vermont. It has tremendous potential, but it needs a new direction." She added that she will make a final decision "within the next couple of weeks."

Democratic governor Peter Shumlin first named Holcombe education secretary in 2014. She continued to serve under Republican Gov. Phil Scott until March 2018, when she suddenly resigned, giving a mere one week's notice.

Holcombe never directly addressed the reasons for her departure, but Vermont Board of Education chair Krista Huling told Seven Days at the time that there were significant policy differences between Holcombe and the administration. The biggest sticking point was Scott's insistence on reductions in public school spending after district budgets had been approved by voters at Town Meeting Day.
After her resignation, rumor and speculation began circulating about a possible Holcombe candidacy for governor. She ruled out a run in late May 2018.

But now, Holcombe said Friday, she is actively considering it. She's been having conversations with Democratic officials, officeholders and donors. Holcombe has also sought advice from EMILY's List, the national organization that raises money for female Democratic candidates.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan told Seven Days that he is also seriously considering a run for governor. Others pondering a bid include Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and antipoverty activist Brenda Siegel of Brattleboro, who finished in third place in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

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