Vermont Republican challenger Scott Milne announced Monday that he will continue his campaign to unseat incumbent governor Peter Shumlin, ignoring calls by Democrats and the state’s establishment media to concede.
As reported by National Review Online recently, Milne, a late-entry longshot in the race in the overwhelmingly Democratic state, took 45.1 percent of the vote to Shumlin’s 46.4 percent — trailing the incumbent by just 2,434 votes out of nearly 200,000 cast. Under Vermont’s constitution, gubernatorial races in which no candidate gets a majority go to the state legislature for a decision by secret ballot. In previous unsettled elections, the legislature has chosen the top vote-getter, and the Democrats have vast majorities in both houses.
But Milne is banking on Shumlin’s unusual unpopularity (he had the worst election performance by any incumbent in recent memory) as well as a burgeoning scandal over the Green Mountain State’s hiring of Jonathan Gruber, the MIT health-care expert and Obamacare architect who was recently caught making multiple disparaging comments about voters, to help build what is planned to be the nation’s first single-payer health-care apparatus.
Milne has been fighting not only the entrenched Democratic party but local media that seem eager for him to give up. A Burlington Free Press article on Milne’s announcement refers to him as “defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate,” and a local TV news station recently dismissed his candidacy by saying the election had been “decided by the voters on November 4.”
But Milne has noted that continuing his candidacy is keeping attention on Shumlin’s lackluster record and the state’s contract with Gruber. Although the governor’s office announced it had severed its contract with Gruber shortly after his reference to the “stupidity of the American voter” came to light, the state subsequently renewed the relationship at a reduced rate. Specifics of the contract — including a change that allowed it to be approved without approval from the state attorney general and lack of specificity around how Gruber must disburse research funds — have sharpened criticism of the single-payer plan.
“If the legislature in 30 days chooses to continue along with the current governor and his track record, and it is their choice, then the legislature must also accept responsibility for the results,” Milne said in comments at the state house in Montpelier Monday.