Douglas Focuses on Current Responsibilities

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(Host) Governor, Jim Douglas,is in no hurry to announce that he’ll run for the U.S. Senate next year. The field is now wide-open because Senator, Jim Jeffords will retire when his term expires. Douglas is clearly considering entering the race. But for now, he says he wants to remain focused on the work in the Legislature.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Douglas came to his weekly news conference well prepared to respond to the political chatter buzzing around Montpelier.

(Douglas) “There’ll be a time for me to consider and discuss my plans for next year. But this is not that time. And despite your efforts, that’s just about all I’ll have to say on the subject.”

(Dillon) The decision by Senator Jim Jeffords not to seek re-election makes Douglas, who lost a Senate race in 1992, the clear favorite for the Republican Senate nomination in 2006.

Douglas said the White House and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have already called him about next year’s race.

(Douglas) “It was a wide-ranging conversation in each case. And I gave them the answer that I gave you, which is: I’m focused on my responsibilities here.”

(Dillon) Douglas stuck to that theme, saying that to talk now about his future political plans would distract from his work during the legislature session.

(Douglas) “I’m not ruling anything in. I’m not ruling anything out. This is a new development in the past day. And at some point, there’ll be a time to talk about it, but not today.”

(Dillon) Another potential candidate, Chittenden County businessman, Richard Tarrant, has said he won’t run if Douglas decides to.

Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders has also said he’d run if Jeffords dropped out.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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