(Host) Republican lieutenant governor candidate Brian Dubie says he’s changed his mind on what should happen if no candidate in the race receives 50% of the vote. In July, Dubie said the candidate who receives the most votes should be elected by the Legislature but Dubie says a group of Republican lawmakers has convinced him that this is not the best way to deal with this issue.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) According to a recent VPR poll, the race for lieutenant governor is virtually a three-way tie between Democrat Peter Shumlin, Republican Brian Dubie and Progressive Anthony Pollina with a large number of voters still undecided.
If no candidate receives 50% of the vote, the Vermont Constitution calls on the Legislature to elect the next lieutenant governor in January, and it’s likely that the Republicans will have a majority of the 180 members of the House and Senate.
In July, speaking on VPR’s Switchboard program, GOP candidate Brian Dubie said he thought lawmakers should vote for the candidate who receives the most votes. But Dubie says he dropped this position after getting a number of phone calls from GOP lawmakers right after his appearance on Switchboard:
(Dubie) “Somebody said that’s a flip-flop. Well you know, I try to be honest and there’s a lot of things that you learn during a campaign. And the night I came off your interview, I learned some things. Some people called me and representatives and they were very strong. They said, ‘I have a constitutional obligation, Brian, as a representative.’ And people that are elected in the Senate take an oath to discharge the constitution and that’s an area that I have reevaluated my position.”
(Kinzel) Dubie’s two major party opponents say they are very disappointed by his change in position on this issue. Progressive Anthony Pollina:
(Pollina) “I don’t believe the framers of our constitution in Vermont ever intended to have the Legislature override the votes of the people of the state. I think that they would be disappointed to see that happen and it opens the door to a lot of shenanigans and can undermine people’s confidence in the democratic process.”
(Kinzel) Democrat Peter Shumlin is also urging Dubie to back the candidate who receives the most votes in their race.
When the Legislature votes on these races it usually does so using a secret ballot. But some lawmakers say they plan to seek a change in legislative rules to require an open roll call vote if the General Assembly is called upon to decide this contest in January.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.