As the rumor mill had predicted, Secretary of State Jim Condos has announced he will not seek a seventh term in office. The 71-year-old Condos has been a quietly influential figure in state politics. He was the champion vote-winner in three successive elections (2012-16), when the Republicans failed to even field a candidate to oppose him.
You never know what you’re going to get when a politician becomes Secretary of State. It can be a sinecure for an aging pol or a mischief-making opportunity for a real partisan, but Condos did neither. He fulfilled his duties with honesty and a minimum of politics, and did his best to make the office run more efficiently in all aspects.
He was also unafraid to take stands unpopular with his old friends in the Legislature. I’ll always appreciate his advocacy for ethical standards and campaign finance reform, which are uncomfortable topics in the Statehouse.
No sooner did he announce his decision in a YouTubed press conference than the speculation began about his successor. The first question was whether Condos would endorse his deputy, Chris Winters, to succeed him. Condos praised Winters’ performance, but declined to issue an endorsement. “I will deal with that at the appropriate time,” he said.
I can add a couple of names to the potential candidate pool. The Republican grapevine sings the name “Dustin Degree,” former state senator and top adviser to Gov. Phil Scott who’s now deputy labor commissioner. Among potential Dems, Montpelier city clerk John Odum, who tells me he is “seriously considering an SoS run and will make a decision within the next couple weeks.”
VTGOP chair Paul Dame is out with his weekly rumination, which appears every Monday in your inbox if you’ve given the party your email address. (I gave them one that I only use for mailing list.) The latest installment is entitled “Donut Democrats & Gun Control.” The joke, see, is that the Democrats don’t have a middle, only two extremes! Just like a donut!
Yeah, I get it. But…
It’s not really accurate, izzit?
I mean, in a donut there’s a continuum of delicious, fatty, sugary pastry on all sides. What Dame has in mind is something more like a pair of parentheses. Now, there’s a hole in the middle.
Also, too. Dame’s conceit is that the Democratic Party (well, he says “Democrat Party,” but I don’t) has lost its moderate side. That’s not a donut; it’s more of a crescent roll.
The Vermont Republican Party is trolling for candidates, as always. The second option on its homepage is optimistically entitled “Run for Office!” as if a place on the ballot with the dread “Republican” identifier isn’t an electoral albatross. But hey, the woefully under-resourced party can’t afford a staff to actually, you know, beat the bushes and find candidates, and its “bench” is an unoccupied ottoman.
That’s all sad enough, but take a gander at this. It’s a screenshot of the drop-down menu on the “Run for Office!” page. They’re seeking candidates to run for the imaginary offices of “Sherrif” and “High Bailif.” Oops. And oops.
Let the countdown begin to Correction Time!
Update: Correction Time has come! It now says “sheriff” and “bailiff.” Dang, I was hoping to run uncontested for “sherrif.” Also, my apologies for failing to headline this piece “VTGOP Doesn’t Have Enough F’s to Give.”