Valley News – Phil Scott seeking 4th term as Vermont governor

Published: 5/17/2022 10:19:34 PM

Modified: 5/17/2022 10:17:48 PM

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott is running for a fourth term.

“Together, we’ve made a difference,” the state’s top official said in a Tuesday morning press release. “But there’s still much more work to do!”

Anti-poverty activist Brenda Siegel, a Democrat, is so far the only other candidate to enter the race.

Heading into his fourth gubernatorial campaign, the 63-year-old Republican is still enjoying sky-high approval ratings. According to a Morning Consult poll released in April, Scott is the country’s second-most popular governor, with a 72% approval rating.

Also in April, a University of New Hampshire poll showed that, of 582 respondents, 56% said Scott should run again, and half said that he deserves to be reelected. Fifty-seven percent said they view him favorably. His strongest base of support remains with self-identified independents and Democrats.

Scott describes himself as a centrist. While he has regularly sparred with Democratic leaders in the Legislature over state finances, including recent debates over the state budget and the public sector pension system, he routinely breaks with the national and state GOP on social issues. Scott was a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and voted for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

At his weekly press conference on May 3, Scott was pressed on why he continues to run as a Republican rather than as an independent. The governor replied that he has been successful over the past 22 years running as a Republican.

“It’s easy to go to the extremes, right? Extreme left, extreme right — everyone knows where you’re going to be and what your vote is going to be …” he said. “Those in the center, those moderates and centrists of either party, have to contemplate what it is that would be best for the state, in this situation, or their constituents, and what you can live with.”

With more than five years of incumbency, Scott may not have to fight hard to keep his seat. No incumbent Vermont governor has lost reelection since 1962.

In an April interview with WPTZ, Scott was asked the last time he “picked up the phone and asked somebody to write a check.” The governor shook his head and scoffed.

“Probably four or five years,” he said, smiling. “I mean, I don’t like raising money. That’s the worst part of campaigning. My campaign staff would tell you I’m not very good at it.”

In the 2020 election season, weeks after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott made a point to avoid campaigning. From the time he announced his intentions to run in May 2020, he pledged to be “a full-time governor who is focused on leading Vermont through the public health and economic crisis COVID-19 has created.”

That year, Scott easily won reelection with 68.8% of the vote. His Democratic opponent, then-Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, is now running to reclaim the lieutenant governor’s seat.

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