Scott Milne, a businessman who previously mounted bids for Vermont governor and U.S. Senate, announced on Thursday that he'll run for lieutenant governor.
The 61-year-old Milne, who drew notice in 2014 when he came within 2,500 votes of knocking off then-governor Peter Shumlin, is the most high-profile Republican to enter the race. He joins registered GOP candidates Meg Hansen, a health care activist from Manchester, and Dana Colson Jr., a political newcomer from Sharon.
In a phone interview on Thursday, Milne described himself as a centrist and said he likes his chances this time around.
"Going into each of the last two races, I was a long shot," he said. "But I’m proud of the last two races ... This time, I think I’ll be offering a voice to a majority of people, is the difference."
Milne declined to discuss specific policy proposals. Instead, he noted that the immediate work in Montpelier will involve recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus crisis. He said his decades-long experience leading his family's company, Milne Travel, has given him unique insight into what small-business owners are going through.
"As we work towards recovery and getting back to economic vitality, obviously I believe I’ll be a much better part of Vermont’s leadership than other people who are running," Milne said.
The lieutenant governor's seat is open this year as the current officeholder, David Zuckerman, is running for governor.
Four Democrats have joined the race: Molly Gray, an assistant attorney general who lives in Burlington; Sen. Debbie Ingram (D-Chittenden) of Williston; Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) of Burlington; and Brenda Siegel, a political activist from Brattleboro.
Perennial candidate Cris Ericson is running as a Progressive.
The primary elections are scheduled for August 11. Winners will face off in the November 3 general election.
In announcing his run, Milne scheduled afternoon media availability outside the Secretary of State's Office in Montpelier, where he planned to file his candidate paperwork.
"I believe that Phil Scott is going to be reelected [governor], and I think it’ll be in Vermont’s best interest to have a partner — and not an adversary — in the lieutenant governor’s office," Milne said.