MONTPELIER - Vermont Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R) announced that he will run for governor in 2010. Dubie's announcement wasn't a big surprise to most state Republicans; he was seen as the likely Republican candidate after Gov. Jim Douglas decided not to seek another term next year.
In a public statement released Oct. 1, Dubie said, "I have devoted the past few weeks to cross-checking my thoughts with the thoughts of other Vermonters-thoughts about where we are as a state and about the challenges we face. I have measured my experience and my capabilities against those benchmarks and have taken a long look at how we could lead our state forward through difficult times. Every household in Vermont knows that you can't spend more money than you take in. Our state revenues have fallen precipitously. We need to rebuild our base and work to grow opportunity. We must reject deficits. We need to manage and reduce debt. And finally, we need to rebuild our reserves and work to reduce taxes.
"I tell Vermonters that I'm the middle child in a family of six. My mother raised me to be a moderator, a peacemaker. Today, we need moderation in our state. The skill of bringing people with divergent views together has served me well as lieutenant governor. Whoever becomes our next Governor, that person will need the ability to bring people together," Dubie said.
But not all Vermont Republicans reacted enthusiastically to Dubie's announcement.
Some conservatives see Dubie as just another middle-of-the-road RINO-a Republican In Name Only.
RINOs are considered to be "radioactive" in many conservative GOP circles. Case in point: U.S. Sen. John McCain in 2008; as a result, conservatives stayed away from the polls in droves.
Hard-core Vermont conservatives have cited Dubie's highly visible "green" agenda as a glaring sign that he's not true to rimrock conservative and libertarian principles, especially when it comes to things such as energy.
"I respect Brian Dubie's service to the nation, but he strikes me as being more interested in pleasing Vermont's liberal 'windmill fringe' then in getting the state's real energy house in order," said Michelle Forrest, a conservative GOP activist and blogger who divides himself between Rutland, Vt., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
"Just look at Mr. Dubie's pandering to the far-left environmentalists in the state. This group is interested in still more government regulation of private enterprise while trying to change our personal habits and lifestyles. So, I have to say that Lt. Gov. Dubie is not likely get my vote."
After Dubie's announcement Oct. 1, a Vermont Democrat Party leader opened up on the GOP candidate with both barrels-
"After seven years of empty promises and failed initiatives, Brian Dubie and the state Republicans are offering us more of the same," said Judy Bevans, Vermont Democratic Party chairwoman.
"Vermonters are desperate for a governor who will bring a new sense of leadership to the office of governor, not more of the same. We need a full time governor who can lead Vermont into the future, not a part-timer with ties to the past," Bevans said.