State Auditor Tom Salmon announced to his 3539 friends on Facebook last night that he won't seek reelection in 2012 — less than two months after he was sworn into a third term.
"I have enjoyed my service to the state but will not seek re-election as state auditor," Salmon wrote around 9 p.m. "It has been an honor to serve with such a talented team at the SAO (State Auditor's Office). Thank you all."
What's next for Salmon? He's not sure: Possibly a run for U.S. Senate, or dropping out of politics entirely and seeking a degree in mediation and conflict resolution.
"I will work where I can make a difference. We have transformed the auditors office and I am very proud of the staff and the work . Politics may not be the future," wrote Salmon in an email to Seven Days.
In response to his Facebook post, several of his supporters are urging him to run for governor in 2012 against Democrat Peter Shumlin. His father, Thomas Salmon, was elected governor as a Democrat in 1972.
Salmon, first elected as a Democrat in 2006, switched parties in 2009 and became a Republican. He won reelection last fall against Doug Hoffer, a Democrat/Progressive.
For almost a year Salmon has mulled a run against U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT. Earlier this year he said he would announce his decision to run against Sanders by March 5.
Salmon told Seven Days via email the move is, "definately a step for transparency." He said while the move help align him politically to run against Sanders, it could also end up being a "step out" not a step up.
"We have to evaluate very hard as a family at this stage. Members of the Progressive Party and other anonymous parties inflicted a fair amount of pain on the entire clan last year," said Salmon.
Salmon is referring to the efforts of John Franco, a Burlington attorney and longtime Progressive and close ally of Sanders, who successfully sued to have a videotape of Salmon's 2009 DUI stop made public. It was released just days before the November election. Franco was also a supporter of Salmon's challenger, Doug Hoffer.
Salmon believes Sanders could have done more to thwart Franco's efforts, and told him so in a letter the day after he won reelection last fall. He said Franco's release of the DUI tape "helped contribute to one of the most negative campaign seasons of recent history."
“As the highest ranking Progressive in the State of Vermont, it is incumbent upon you to answer whether you were aware of” Franco’s request, Salmon wrote to Sanders in a November 3 letter. “Was he acting on behalf of you? Could you please clarify your relationship with him because it has been reported to me that the two of you have a strong history and continue regular lunches and meetings."
Sanders failed to respond to Salmon's letter.