Former Governors Jump Into Race For Treasurer

11/01/12 7:34AM By Bob Kinzel
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Former Governor Howard Dean supports fellow Democrat Beth Pearce in her run for state treasurer.

Two former Governors jump right in the middle of a hotly contested campaign for Treasurer highlighting the importance of this contest.

Usually former governors don't get involved in down ticket races but this year is different. Former Republican Governor Jim Douglas has made a TV ad where he strongly supports the candidacy of GOP candidate Wendy Wilton.

"Vermont families deserve an independent Treasurer who will get real results. Wendy Wilton is a professional non-political fiscal leader who's looking out for you. Her leadership helped turn Rutland's $5 million deficit into a $3.8 million surplus and Wendy has the right priorities for our fiscal future."

Meanwhile, former Democratic Governor Howard Dean held a press conference to support his party's candidate, Beth Pearce. Dean said Pearce was the most qualified person for the job and he accused Wilton of running a highly partisan campaign that's not in keeping with the role of Treasurer.

Dean also expressed concern that a Republican Super PAC has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to elect Wilton.

"The voters have an opportunity to say no to this kind of stuff and I hope they'll exercise it because this race wouldn't be a race with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that a right wing activist is pouring in to the race," said Dean. "And this is really a referendum on whether you want big money in terms of these SuperPACs playing a role in Vermont politics."

Meanwhile, a Democratic Super PAC has spent roughly $25,000 to help elect Pearce.

The candidates differ on many issues including the impact that these SuperPACs could have on Vermont's political system. Pearce is worried:

"Quite frankly I'm concerned about the influence of SuperPAC money on our elections," said Pearce. "You've got an extreme position putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into my opponent and other Republican ad buys and I think that this is inappropriate and should not continue."

But Wilton says it's too soon to tell and she says the GOP Super PAC is trying to provide some balance to Vermont's largely one party political system.

"I think it will remain to be seen come November 6th but I would say at this point the important thing to remember when you're a candidate is that there is a federal law, you can't coordinate or communicate with these groups so sometimes they may do things that are beneficial to your campaign and other times they might not and you have no control over it."

This is seen as a very competitive race, in part, because there's no true incumbent in the contest. Pearce was appointed to the post when Jeb Spaulding resigned to become Secretary of Administration in 2011.

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