Gov. Phil Scott announced Thursday morning that he will seek a third term leading the state of Vermont.
First elected in 2016, the 61-year-old Berlin Republican had as recently as Wednesday refused to say whether he would run for reelection. But at 7 a.m. Thursday, hours before the 5 p.m. deadline to qualify for the August 11 primary election, Scott's campaign released a statement confirming what had been widely assumed in political circles.
"Far too many people get elected to satisfy their egos, and use their newly found power for ideological reasons or for the satisfaction of taking credit for things they have or haven’t done," he wrote. "I’ve always felt that what we actually need are more public servants — people who make sacrifices to help others, not themselves or special interests. That’s what I’ve tried to do throughout my time in public life."
Scott, who is one of the nation's most popular governors and who has earned high praise for his work leading Vermont during the coronavirus crisis, said in his statement that he would not hire "a campaign staff or office, be raising money, or participating in normal campaign events" until the current state of emergency has lapsed.
"Facing, fighting and defeating this virus — and rebuilding a stronger, more resilient economy — are my top priorities," he wrote.
Prior to his election as governor, Scott served as lieutenant governor and represented Washington County in the state Senate. He was co-owner of DuBois Construction and a longtime stock car racer at Barre's Thunder Road Speedbowl.
Scott’s announcement helps clarify — though it does not finalize — the field for the 2020 gubernatorial race. To date, eight candidates have stepped forward to run for the state's highest office.
In the Republican primary, Scott is expected to face a challenge from first-time candidate John Klar, an attorney and farmer from Brookfield. By Thursday morning, Klar had yet to officially file paperwork with the Secretary of State's Office, though he announced his intention to run last fall. Irasburg resident Bernard Peters, who ran for governor as an independent in 2014, had filed to run as a Republican.
In the Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, former education secretary Rebecca Holcombe and Bennington attorney Pat Winburn have all announced their candidacies. Holcombe had yet to file as of Thursday morning, though she announced her entry into the race last summer.
Ralph Corbo, an environmental activist from Wallingford, has also filed to run as a Democrat, while Cris Ericson of Chester and Boots Wardinski of Newbury had filed to run as Progressives.
Vermont's primary election is scheduled for August 11. The general election is on November 3.