Filing deadline will reveal field of Vt. political candidates - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Filing deadline will reveal field of Vt. political candidates

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Wednesday morning, Rep. Mary Hooper handed in the necessary paperwork to run for re-election. The Democrat from Montpelier says she typically collects twice as many signatures as are needed, in part because it's a good excuse to chat with people about the issues.

"It's good to get it done. I don't want to get hit by a truck tomorrow and not be able to make it down here," Hooper said.

But about half of the candidates won't file until the last possible day. Secretary of State Jim Condos says that's typical and his office will be open late Thursday to accommodate the deadline.

"Our normal closing hours are 4:30, but we will be here til 5 accepting petitions right up until then and we fully expect that we'll get some right at 4:59 as they come through the door," said Condos, D-Vt. Secretary of State.

The Republican Party still does not have a party-endorsed candidate to challenge Governor Shumlin. Businessman Scott Milne has the signatures to run but had not decided to file as of Wednesday evening. He says U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's surprise loss in a state party primary Monday indicates upsets are possible.

Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith is similarly uncommitted to running again despite promising a decision earlier this month.

"As we see the expenditures going up and up and the cost of running a race, I think you're going to see more folks trying to ask for public financing," Condos said.

This year, both challengers to Lt. Gov. Phil Scott want their campaigns to be taxpayer financed. Progressive candidate Dean Corren says he's raised the necessary amount to qualify. If validated, he'll get $50,000 for a potential primary and $150,000 for a general election. A spokesperson for Democrat John Bauer says he's really close to reaching the mark but would not elaborate further.

It's a rare occurrence for candidates to run on taxpayer cash. The option is only available to those running for governor or lieutenant governor and it's a tough hill to climb. A lieutenant governor candidate must raise more than $17,000 with donations no greater than $50 per person, and spread fairly evenly across the state. A candidate for governor would need to raise $35,000 with the same method. It's only been used three times and not since 2004.

A few notable politicians have announced they won't be seeking re-election. That list includes Senators Peter Galbraith, Bob Hartwell and Don Collins, as well as Representatives Tom Koch, Martha Heath and Bill Johnson among others.

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