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VT GOP auditor forms Senate exploratory committee

March 2, 2011

NEAL P. GOSWAMI

Republican State Auditor Thomas Salmon announced Wednesday that he is forming an exploratory committee to determine if he will challenge independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders next year.

The 47-year-old Salmon has hinted for some time that he will challenged the popular Sanders. But in recent days Salmon appeared to be hedging, backing away from holding a press conference this week, and telling Politico.com that he was now just 50 percent likely to run. He had previously told Politico.com that there was a 65 percent chance he would challenge Sanders.

The exploratory committee will allow Salmon, a U.S. Navy Reservist who served in Iraq, to raise money. He recently announced, just weeks into his third term as auditor, that he would not seek re-election to that office. Salmon is also considering running against Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, or leaving politics altogether.

Salmon’s statement, released Wednesday, is below:

“Our nation is in crisis.  Millions of Americans face prolonged underemployment, unemployment, and despair.  From Washington to Wisconsin we see the effects of poor planning and lots of unproductive blame. Here in Vermont, teachers are on the verge of a strike in some parts and paying property taxes has never been more difficult.  America’s decades long spending binge has reached a tipping point.  As an auditor and accountant, I understand that our economic survival is threatened by the massive deficits and debt we are accumulating.  As a father, I understand it is my generation’s responsibility to solve these problems now so that ours is not the first generation of Americans to leave to our children a country weaker, less prosperous and less hopeful than the one we inherited.

I understand that a campaign against an incumbent like Senator Sanders is no easy task.  At the same time, I believe that no one is entitled to reelection year after year after year.  No one is entitled to any office.  Democracy only works when our elected officials are held accountable each and every election cycle through vigorous debate, an airing of the facts, and an examination of the record.

Over the next several weeks, I will consider more formally whether or not I can make a positive difference, whether running for the Senate is right for my family, and whether Vermonters are eager for fresh leadership, new ideas, and a different approach to finding solutions.  Also, the next few months will see my family undergo changes as a son departs for the Air Force and a Daughter graduates from High School.”

 

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