Spoiler alert: Shap Smith will run for governor.

I know, shocking. But so reports the AP’s Dave Gram.

Mr. Speaker appeared on the soon-to-disappear Mark Johnson Show this morning and said that “he would make an announcement next Wednesday,” but wouldn’t say what. So Dave worked the phones and got a couple of unnamed “high-ranking Democrats” to spill the beans.

Being honorable people (cough), the sources refused to be named “because they did not want to be seen pre-empting Smith’s announcement.”

Which, of course, is exactly what they did. It’s just that they “didn’t want to be seen” doing so. Thanks, guys.

We’ve known for months now that Smith would run, just as it’s obvious Matt Dunne will enter the race, and it’ll be a shocker if Sue Minter opts out.

For the record, I see Smith as a strong contender; he’s lacking in statewide name recognition among the roughly 85% of Vermonters who pay little attention to the goings-on in Montpelier. But he can expect substantial backing from members of the House Democratic caucus, and those lawmakers form an effective “grassroots organization,” with ears to the ground and supporters to rally across the state.

In previous legislative sessions, Smith was — in public — a restrained figure, seldom stepping out on his own and acting as a consensus builder instead of a policy originator. He only called for House votes when he knew the outcome. When he twisted arms, he kept it behind closed doors.

This year, he took subtle but unmistakable steps to craft his own political profile. It wasn’t so much the substance as the style and presentation — although on health care reform, he did his best to shepherd a funding package through the legislature. Some see him as tainted by association with difficult legislative decisions on taxes, budget, education, and more; but that’s more a matter of inside baseball than widespread perception. (Vermont’s political media corps suffers from a moderate case of Golden Dome Myopia, not because they’re dumb, but because they spend their days breathing that recycled air.)

(Yes, Postal Service reference, thanks for asking.)

Anyway, of course Shap Smith is running, and the anonymous bean-spilling won’t take too much shine off his announcement.

Of course, maybe after the high-ranking Democrats’ premature ejaculations, Shap will decide to pull a switcher and “announce” something completely different. He’s probably too serious to actually do it, but it’s fun to think about.

And so we present, for entertainment purposes only, the Top Ten Alternative Shap Smith Announcements:

10. “I am running for Governor… on the Liberty Union ticket!”

9. “I’m shaving off my goatee and donating it to the new facial-hair division of ‘Locks of Love’.”

8. “I always thought my parents made it up. But after many years of searching, I’ve finally found somebody else named ‘Shapleigh’.”

7. “Darcie Johnston is my co-pilot.”

6. “I’m feeling tacos. Anyone with me?”

5. “I will build a great, great wall on our eastern border, and make New Hampshire pay for that wall.”

4. “I thought about running for governor, but I’m opening a tattoo parlor instead.”

3. “Hey folks, I lost my car keys. Anybody seen ‘em?”

2. “Hi, boys and girls, I’m Jimmy Carl Black, and I’m the Indian of the group.” (mic drop)

1. “Dylan Giambatista is my love child.”


  1. Kevin L.

    I would add “I really don’t spend my weekends playing a confederate soldier in Civil War reenactments” to your list.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s