Milne to Skip Primary Debate

Pomfret Businessman Is GOP Gubernatorial Hopeful

Montpelier — The Republican gubernatorial hopeful considered to be the candidate of the Vermont party establishment said Tuesday he would not attend an Essex debate with three other candidates seeking the nomination in next week’s primary election.

Scott Milne said Tuesday he had been invited to attend the debate sponsored by the Essex town Republican committee, but he chose not to go.

“They are going to be working against the Republican Party and the nominee after the primary so it didn’t make sense to go,” Milne said of the other candidates seeking the GOP nomination.

Steve Berry and Emily Peyton are the other GOP candidates on the primary ballot. Libertarian candidate Dan Feliciano is also mounting a write-in campaign for the GOP nomination. The three of them will attend the debate, said Ron Lawrence, of the Essex Republican committee.

Meanwhile, Milne, a Pomfret businessman, said he was moving forward with his campaign and he began airing a television ad on Tuesday in which he is endorsed by former Gov. Jim Douglas and in which he calls for an end to “this era of unbridled experimentation with our government.”

So far he’s raised just under $43,000 for the campaign.

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, a two-term incumbent who is facing a primary challenge from H. Brooke Paige, is expected to win his party’s nomination. Shumlin’s campaign reported Monday he had just under $1.1 million in the bank.

One of the cornerstones of Shumlin’s governorship is his commitment to creating the nation’s first single-payer health care system by 2017.

On his Facebook page, Steve Berry, of Wolcott, describes himself as the “average guy who has had his share of ups and downs.” He says he wants to “take back our freedom from the elite ruling class.”

Peyton, of Putney, Vt., ran for governor as an independent two years ago and she is on this November’s ballot as an independent as well. On her campaign website she calls for “direct health care without supporting parasite industries,” making it legal to grow marijuana and allowing college tuition in exchange for service.

In announcing his write-in campaign for the Republican nomination, Feliciano, of Essex Junction, whose name will appear on the November ballot as a Libertarian, said he was seeking the GOP nomination to force Shumlin to defend his policies. Feliciano says he’s going to focus his campaign on the economy, spending, property tax increases, energy and “the need to defend our liberties.”

Milne said he was running for governor to provide “more balanced political leadership” than has been provided by Shumlin.

Shumlin has said he won’t begin his re-election campaign until after Labor Day.