Lisman Declines to Challenge Shumlin for Governor | Off Message
Pin It

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lisman Declines to Challenge Shumlin for Governor

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

click to enlarge Bruce Lisman - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Bruce Lisman
After months of deliberation, Campaign for Vermont founder Bruce Lisman said Wednesday he's decided against challenging Gov. Peter Shumlin this fall. 

The Shelburne resident and retired Bear Stearns executive said that while he "did give it careful consideration," he came to the conclusion that a bid for public office would detract from the mission of his nonprofit political advocacy group.

"I was concerned that a candidacy would undermine the nonpartisan nature of Campaign for Vermont," Lisman said. "Instead of highlighting good ideas and solutions to problems we recognized, it would instead obscure them."

Since founding CFV in 2011 and investing more than a million dollars in the organization, Lisman has been seen as a possible political contender. He said Wednesday he had spoken to "a large number of groups" over the past few months about the possibility of challenging Shumlin.

"I did take seriously those people who asked me to run and did give it considerable thought, and learned a considerable amount about the political process along the way," he said. "Some wanted to have, if you will, a performance evaluation of the governor through my candidacy."

While Lisman declined to weigh in on Shumlin's job performance Wednesday, he indicated that he hopes to see a competitive race.

"People should have a chance to say what they think of his ideas," Lisman said of the Democratic incumbent. 

Thus far, only perennial candidate Emily Peyton has announced plans to seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) and 2010 Republican nominee Brian Dubie have said they won't run. Pomfret businessman Scott Milne and 2012 Republican nominee Randy Brock are both considering entering the race. The Vermont Progressive Party has indicated it won't field a serious candidate.

Brock said Wednesday he is "close to reaching a conclusion" about whether he might run and had been in touch with Lisman in recent days about their potential candidacies. In praising Lisman, Brock suggested he might pursue similar goals as a candidate.

"Bruce is to be commended for everything he's done with Campaign for Vermont. I think he's raised a lot of issues that he and the folks with him have approached in a thoughtful and creative way," Brock said. "I should say that most of the things they've said are very much aligned with my way of thinking."

Lisman said he made his decision roughly two weeks ago, but decided to announce the news via press release Wednesday in order to put to rest rampant speculation.

"I was spurred to put something out because people were calling, wanting to meet with me," he said. "The media were beginning to report it as, I don't know, if not a fact, but a fact of the political discussion. And I thought it was detracting from really what I like to do, so I thought I should put an end to it."

Just because Lisman won't be a candidate in 2014 doesn't mean he won't be involved in the race.

"I think Campaign for Vermont could play a role in it. We were careful in the last election cycle not to be too personal in introducing our ideas," he said. "We want to be careful about avoiding the bright lines that there are. But I think we can offer up some real, good, constructive ideas that would helpfully tell the people who would vote that there are better ways of doing things."

Lisman declined to say whether that means CFV will resume its advertising campaigns or endorse a particular candidate. He said he has yet to decide whether he will personally financially support any candidates.

As for whether Lisman would make a run for public office down the road, he said, "I don't know. I haven't ruled it out, but I'm not thinking about it."

Nor would he speculate about whether he could have beaten Shumlin had he entered the race.

"I don't know," he said. "Who knows? We'll never know."

Tags: , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

About The Author

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz is a staff writer and political editor for Seven Days. He wrote the "Fair Game" political column from May 2012 through December 2016.

More by Paul Heintz

  • How Vermont’s Nonprofit Sector Became a $6.8 Billion Industry
  • How Vermont’s Nonprofit Sector Became a $6.8 Billion Industry

    According to Internal Revenue Service filings, the state's 6,044 federally recognized nonprofits reported annual revenue of $6.8 billion and assets of $13.2 billion. These public-private hybrids, funded by the wealthy and the state, have in recent decades become a sort of shadow government. They educate the young, treat the ill, conserve the environment, and feed and house the poor.
    • Jun 20, 2018
  • Some of Vermont's Highest-Paid Execs Run Nonprofits
  • Some of Vermont's Highest-Paid Execs Run Nonprofits

    Eighty one Vermont nonprofits paid at least one staff member more than $200,000 in 2016. These high earners include the leaders of Vermont's top hospitals and colleges, which are designated nonprofits under federal law despite having budgets in the hundreds of millions — or even billions — of dollars.
    • Jun 20, 2018
  • These Vermont Gubernatorial Candidates Have Roots in the Nonprofit World
  • These Vermont Gubernatorial Candidates Have Roots in the Nonprofit World

    Three of the four Democratic candidates in this year's gubernatorial race are nonprofit leaders. The exception, 14-year-old Ethan Sonneborn, isn't old enough to work.
    • Jun 20, 2018
  • More »

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation