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Scott to seek fifth term as Vermont governor

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(The Center Square) — Vermont’s Republican Gov. Phil Scott is seeking a fifth term in office, touting his accomplishments and pledging to keep taxes low, as he faces a potential challenge from a former Democratic governor in the blue state.

Scott, who is serving his fourth term, announced over the weekend that he is running for reelection to another two-year term in the November elections, arguing that Vermonters are satisfied with the job he has been doing.

“During my four terms as governor, my team and I have worked to grow the economy, make Vermont more affordable, and protect the most vulnerable. I’ve done my best to rise above partisanship to solve problems, and help people,” Scott said in remarks on Saturday. “While we’ve made progress over the years, we still have more work to do.”

Scott faces a possible challenge to his tenure from former Gov. Howard Dean, a Democrat, has hinted that he may be running in the 2024 election two decades after he left office.

Dean served five and a half terms from 1991 to 2003, making him the longest-serving governor in Vermont history, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

He issued a statement saying he is concerned about what he described as a “poisonous atmosphere” in the state government and a lack of progress on key issues such as health care and education.

“I believe Vermont is in real danger of losing much we have fought for and much of what we have accomplished in the atmosphere of anger and disrespect which permeates Montpelier,” Dean said. “And I believe we can do better together.”

Another Democrat, Middlebury select board member Esther Charlestin, announced her gubernatorial run in January. Former Burlington mayor Miro Weinberger has expressed interest in the governor’s job.

Scott served three terms as lieutenant governor of Vermont from 2011 to 2017 under then-Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, making Vermont one of the few states with a bipartisan administration. Previously, he served in the state Senate from 2001 until 2010. In the 2022 elections, Scott won by his largest margin yet, garnering 71% of the vote.

To be sure, Scott hasn’t faced a serious Democratic challenger since he was first elected governor in 2017 and has developed a reputation as a moderate willing to reach across the political aisle to work with Democrats on pending legislation.

He has also been a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump — who is seeking a return to the White House in November — and threw his support behind Democratic President Joe Biden during the 2020 election.

Scott can also boast that he holds the title of America’s ‘most popular’ governor, based on a poll released last year by Morning Consult, which showed 81% of respondents from the state approve of the governor’s job performance.

That’s 10% ahead of Wyoming Republican Gov. Mark Gordon. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu placed third, according to Morning Consult pollsters.

A separate poll by the University of New Hampshire showed a majority of Vermonters want Scott to seek re-election, with 58% of respondents saying Scott should get another term in the governor’s office.

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