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Monday, May 11, 2015

Brock Seeks McAllister's Senate Seat

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2015 at 11:59 PM

click to enlarge Randy Brock - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Randy Brock
Embattled Sen. Norm McAllister (R-Franklin) hadn't resigned his post by Monday night, but already a crowd of candidates was lining up to replace him.

"I have heard from several people who are interested," said Franklin County Republican Party chairman Stephen Trahan. "Even one Democrat has contacted me personally and told me he'd like to be considered for this position. I admire his spunk, but we're not going to nominate a Democrat."

Among those who have contacted Trahan is former Franklin County senator and state auditor Randy Brock, the 2012 Republican nominee for governor. 

"If [McAllister] resigns, I would certainly be interested in filling the seat, because I think it needs to be filled and I think it needs to be filled by someone who can get to work immediately, who's up on the issues," Brock said. "So I'm willing to serve, yes. It depends on the governor, because it's his decision solely."

In the event of a Senate vacancy, the county party from which the senator hailed can nominate up to three candidates to replace him or her. But Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, is free to select whomever he would like. Typically, governors have chosen a replacement from the same party as the outgoing legislator.

Asked Monday afternoon when he would name a successor should McAllister resign, Shumlin wouldn't say.

"I obviously haven't had the opportunity to give a replacement much thought," the governor said. "It wouldn't happen before the [end of the] legislative session. I'm going to focus on getting the legislature out of here. So let's focus on that and then we'll move forward with this after we've sent the legislature home."

Lawmakers hope to adjourn for the year by Saturday.

Shumlin and other top elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell (D-Windsor) and House Speaker Shap Smith (D-Morristown), called on McAllister to resign Monday.

Though Scott said Monday morning that McAllister was planning to resign Tuesday, the senator himself said later in the day that he has "not made up my mind in any which way."

McAllister was arrested outside the Statehouse last Thursday and pleaded not guilty Friday to three felony counts of sexual assault and three misdemeanor counts of prohibited acts. On Sunday, Seven Days reported that one of three alleged victims worked for McAllister at the Statehouse and said she was 16 or younger when McAllister first assaulted her. McAllister's lawyer, Brooks McArthur, urged the public "not to rush to judgment" last Friday. He has not responded to requests for comment since.

Brock said Monday that the charges against McAllister are only accusations and should be "dealt with in accordance with the law." But he echoed calls that the senator should step down, arguing that McAllister could not "be effective in his role of representing" Franklin County. 

"I do think he should step down for the benefit of his constituents," Brock said. "It's not necessarily rushing to judgment in any way. But these are perhaps the most serious allegations I've ever seen or heard involving a sitting legislator in the state of Vermont."

WCAX-TV's Kyle Midura first reported Brock's interest in the seat.

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About The Author

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz is Seven Days' political editor. He writes the weekly column, "Fair Game."

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