A candidate for governor was caught speeding. State Troopers say Peter Shumlin was going 81 mph on Interstate 91. The stop happened 11 days ago. Troopers say Shumlin was fined $152 and got two points on his license. Officials say the stop was unusual, because the Democrat used his Senate ID, not his driver's license.
Police video caught Senate President Peter Shumlin, a Democratic candidate for governor, getting pulled over for speeding going 16 mph over the limit on Interstate 91 in Fairlee. It was 10:30 p.m., a busy campaign day, and the trooper recognized him.
Trooper: "I had you at 81 - are you in a hurry?"
Shumlin: "Yeah. I've already been in Brattleboro."
Trooper: "OK, campaigning?"
Shumlin: "Then head to Burlington to a forum... inaudible.... some bs going on."
Shumlin: "Hoping to have you drive me in a few months."
Trooper: "It won't be me."
The two joked and the trooper then says Shumlin handed him a Senate ID, not a driver's license. Shumlin says the two IDs look very similar. His campaign provided a photo of them. Shumlin says if he gave the trooper the Senate ID, it was a mistake. "You can hear from the tape, I never said I'm Senate President, don't give me a ticket," Shumlin told WCAX News. "I just don't work that way."
"I've seen the videotape. The trooper was doing his job, the senator was polite and respectful," said Col. Tom L'Esperance, Commander of the Vermont State Police. L'Esperance says using a Senate ID is a valid ID, but that it is not typically used to identify yourself.
Peter Shumlin says he'll slow down on the road while the campaign kicks into high gear. "I apologize. I got a speeding ticket. I was driving too fast. I pleaded guilty and paid the ticket. No one should speed."
Peter Shumlin now has two points on his license from this stop. The senator wasn't sure if he has any other points. The four other Democrats and one Republican in the race say since announcing their campaigns for governor they have not gotten a speeding ticket.
As for whether this could have any impact on the campaign, one political analyst told WCAX News that in such a tight race you don't want to reinforce any negative image people might have about a candidate. Another analyst said it would probably have little to no impact since the senator was not excessively speeding and instead pointed out what could hurt more is that Peter Shumlin was not endorsed by the Vermont League of Conservation Voters-- instead that environmental group picked Doug Racine.
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