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At least 9 file to run for governor in Vt.

Final candidates meet deadline for turning in papers

By John Curran
Associated Press / June 18, 2010

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MONTPELIER — And they’re off!

One of the busiest political campaign years in recent Vermont history kicked off yesterday as a last few candidates filed their petitions with the Secretary of State’s office, setting the slate for Aug. 24 primary elections and the Nov. 2 general election.

Topping the ballot: A wide-open race for governor, with at least five Democrats, a Republican, two independents, and a United States Marijuana Party candidate seeking to succeed Republican incumbent Jim Douglas, who is stepping down after four terms in the $142,542-a-year job.

“It’s an exciting day because this is when you officially sign on as a candidate for the most important job in Vermont,’’ said state Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, who was the last of the Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls to get his petitions filed.

Under state law, candidates for Congress, statewide offices, legislative seats, and county offices had until 5 p.m. yesterday to submit petitions signed by registered voters.

For the statewide and federal offices, the minimum number of signatures was 500, though most submitted substantially more than that.

This year, the deadline was the same for independent and major-party candidates, meaning someone who loses a major-party primary will not be able to file after that to run as an independent candidate in the general election.

The Vermont Legislature, as part of a measure that pushed back the primary from September, enacted a “sore loser law’’ barring post-primary filings for the general election.

The governor’s office, which historically only comes open about every 10 years, is the big race in 2010.

Vermont is one of only two states — the other is New Hampshire — that elects its governor every two years.

Democrats Susan Bartlett, Matt Dunne, Deb Markowitz, Doug Racine, and Shumlin will square off in the Aug. 24 primary, with the winner advancing to face Republican Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, who is trying to move up after seven years under Douglas.

Also in the general election race are independent candidates Dennis Steele — who advocates Vermont’s secession from the union — and Em Payton, and United States Marijuana Party candidate Cris Ericson, of Chester.

In the state auditor’s race, Republican incumbent Thomas Salmon is being challenged by state Senator Edward Flanagan, a Democrat.

US Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, faces challenges from a Democrat and a Republican in his bid for another six-year term, and US Representative Peter Welch has two Republican opponents.

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