MONTPELIER – State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding said Wednesday that he is considering running for governor in 2010, a decision he will make within the next three months.
"I'm giving it serious consideration," said the Democrat, when asked by The Times Argus in a broader interview if he was eyeing the gubernatorial race.
Spaulding, a Democrat who has served as treasurer since 2003 and was previously a state senator from Washington County, said people urge him to run for governor on an almost daily basis, adding, "It's impossible not to think about it."
And he said, referring to Republican Gov. James Douglas' hold on the state's top office since his inauguration in January 2003, "As a Democrat, I'm tired of losing."
Spaulding said he is weighing a number of factors, including timing. At age 55, he said, "I think I have one more time to make a final decision to run for governor or not."
But, he said, he loves the job of treasurer and won't run for higher office just for the sake of moving up the political ladder.
"Just getting elected to higher office is not something that excites me," he said. Instead, having good ideas and contributing to the state's welfare would be the driving force in any final decision to run for governor, he said.
"That appeals to me, to be able to have a greater ability to influence public policy," Spaulding added.
There are downsides to running, he noted. First, he does not want to be in a position as treasurer of criticizing the sitting governor, particularly when the state is facing tough economic times. He said Douglas set an important precedent when he served a treasurer under Democratic Gov. Howard Dean, working cooperatively with the Dean administration.
"I want to follow that model and continue that model," Spaulding said. Yet, to run a successful campaign, he might find himself essentially forced into the position of criticizing Douglas' policy, particularly if the governor seeks reelection in 2010.
"I really don't want to do that," Spaulding said.
In addition, he's realistic about the time involved in fundraising for such a race, as well as the loss of privacy that would come if elected. He's also interested in other Democrats who might be weighing the race. And, he noted, he's not willing to compromise too great an extent on issues he feels strongly about simply to get elected to higher office.
"You really need to make sure if you're going to go down that road," he said of running for governor. "I don't want to let people down."
Spaulding founded WNCS radio and was a general partner in Precision Media. He served in the Vermont Senate from 1985 to 2000, holding the post of chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the Joint Fiscal Committee and other panels.
Spaulding said he would move quickly on the decision, even though he won't know whether Douglas will also be running or will step aside for 2010.
"I need to follow my instinct, if this is the right time to do it," he said.
He added that a decision not to run would be acceptable, too.
"The good news is I don't go to bed wishing I could be elected to higher office," Spaulding said.
See the Talking Points column on Page A1 of Monday's Times Argus to read about Spaulding's thoughts on serving as state treasurer during difficult economic times.MORE IN Central Vermont
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