A prominent Vermont Democrat who was mulling a race for lieutenant governor said Friday that he won't seek the job. Former House speaker Shap Smith, a Morrisville Democrat, told Seven Days he would not run for statewide office this year.
"I don't think it's any secret that I have a great love for the state of Vermont and really enjoy public service, and I think that Vermont has incredibly difficult challenges in front of it," Smith said.
But, he added "I am coaching nordic skiing, my kids are a senior and a freshman in high school and my wife has a very challenging job. It's time for me to do my public service on the home front and at the local level."
The news comes days after VTDigger reported that incumbent Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive-Democrat, would vacate the job to run for governor. That set off a scramble of potential candidates for what will almost certainly be an open seat. Smith initially said he was considering joining the field and would decide by the end of the week.
Smith spent 14 years in the Vermont House, including eight as speaker. He stepped down in 2016 to run for lieutenant governor but lost to Zuckerman in the Democratic primary.