MONTPELIER — Garrett Graff, the recently departed editor of Politico Magazine, says he is contemplating a run for lieutenant governor as a Democrat as he and his wife settle back into a life in Vermont.
Graff, a Vermont native, announced on Twitter last week that he was leaving the magazine in Washington, D.C., and returning to Vermont. But he was coy about what his future plans were. On Friday, the 34-year-old told the Vermont Press Bureau that he is considering running for lieutenant governor.
“Lieutenant governor is certainly on the table,” he said.
Vermont Public Radio’s John Dillon reported on Twitter Friday that Graff had purchased graffforvermont.com. VPR’s Taylor Dobbs tweeted that Graff had also purchased graffforgovernor.com and graffforsenate.com.
Graff, who also served as editor-in-chief of Washingtonian magazine for five years, said said people should not “read too much into what John was tweeting.”
“I am not running for governor or for Senate,” he said.
The focus, he said, is on exploring a run for the the state’s second highest office.
“Vermont has always been my home and it’s where I grew up. It’s where my family has lived for generations. It’s where I graduated from high school and got the start in my career,” he said. “I believe Vermont is at a very critical junction right not and it faces some very critical decisions about what Vermont wants to be.”
Graff, the son of former Associated Press Montpelier bureau chief Chris Graff, graduated from Montpelier High School and Harvard University. He worked as a staffer for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
“I was his first webmaster and built his first website, actually,” Graff said, noting he went on to work on Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. Graff’s journalism career has largely focused on technology.
“If you look at the work that I have done, I have basically spent the last dozen years covering, studying and examining the way that our society is being reshaped by these massive technological revolutions that we’re undergoing,” he said. “These are obviously trends that are playing out in the Vermont economy and the Vermont workforce and posing very real challenges to Vermont’s future. I believe that is an issue that I am able to contribute to the conversation on.”
Graff, who has not lived in Vermont since 2004, said his previous work would be an asset as lieutenant governor, if he runs.
“The thing that I have covered and I have written about is how globalization and technology are shaping our world. I have had the opportunity to look at numerous success stories across the country and around the world as well as the challenges those revolutions have placed on places around the world and across the state of Vermont. I think that is going to be a defining issue in this campaign,” he said.
Should he become a candidate, Graff would enter a Democratic primary that already includes Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram, and Marlboro businessman Brandon Riker. It would continue a trend of young Vermonters seeking the office. Ram is 29 and Riker is 28.
Republican Randy Brock has also declared his candidacy.
Graff, who has served as an instructor at Georgetown University and written several books, said he has purchased “dozens” of domain names dating back to his time on the Dean campaign. They do not reflect any specific plans, he said.
“In the tech world, it is actually not particularly weird to squat on a whole bunch of domain names just to ensure they’re available at some point down the road if you want them,” he said.
Graff said he is in no rush to decide whether he will enter the race.
“The election is more than a year away at this point and I don’t think that the people of Vermont are particularly interested in watching a year-long race for lieutenant governor,” Graff said.
He said he believes he has a strong network in place if he opts to run, but declined to name who might be supporting him.
“I have had many conversations with many people across the state of Vermont,” Graff said. “I am not going to speak for any individual other than myself.”