MONTPELIER — Republican Mark Snelling bowed out of the lieutenant governor’s race Monday after expressing his disappointment last week that fellow Republican Randy Brock had announced his own candidacy.
Snelling, the son of former GOP Gov. Richard Snelling and Lt. Gov. Barbara Snelling, ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 but lost a primary race to Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. He announced his decision to pass on a 2016 bid in an email to fellow Republicans Monday.
“Last week, Randy Brock announced that he was going to be a candidate for the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor. Since that time, I have looked again at a possible candidacy and come to the conclusion that I will not run for Lt. Governor in 2016,” he wrote in his email.
Snelling began considering his bid when Scott announced he would run for governor. Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision in June to pass on a run for a fourth term created openings for the state’s top two offices.
Brock announced his bid last week after declining to participate in a meeting of potential GOP candidates to flush out who should run for a host of elected positions. Snelling said he and Brock held their own private meeting and believed there was an agreement to participate in a larger meeting with several potential candidates before they would make their own decisions.
But Snelling said Brock called him and told he would be announcing his own candidacy for lieutenant governor. Snelling told the Vermont Press Bureau he was disappointed by Brock’s decision.
Snelling wrote in his email that he “could make a significant contribution to improving lives of Vermonters by advocating for public policies that grow our economy and lower the overall tax burden on Vermonters” as lieutenant governor.
Instead, he threw his support behind Brock Monday.
“I have known Randy for many years and worked very closely with him on his 2012 campaign for Governor and served as his treasurer for that race. Randy and I share many common positions on the issues facing Vermont. Randy will make a great Lt. Governor and I will support his candidacy,” he wrote.
Launching his own campaign “would have been unnecessarily divisive for Republicans,” according to Snelling.
“It is my belief that the Republican Party needs to come together in 2016 and focus all of our energy on winning House and Senate seats and on winning the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s races,” he wrote.
Snelling encouraged other potential Republican candidates to consider sitting out the 2016 race for lieutenant governor and instead “consider running for other offices where as a party, we can build our strength across the State.”
Scott Milne, the party’s 2014 nominee for governor, and Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning are also considering a run.