On Possible Bid For U.S. Senate Seat, Milne Says 'It's Time For A Change'

Mar 29, 2016

It now looks very likely that Scott Milne, the 2014 Republican candidate for governor, will challenge Sen. Patrick Leahy in the November election.

There's no question that Milne is acting like a person who wants to seek office in 2016. He's talking to the media about a possible run for the U.S. Senate and he's actively looking for opportunities to speak to civic groups about the future of Vermont.

In 2014, Milne lost a very close race to incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin. He says he wants to take the same approach to running for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination this year.

"Our plan is the same as it was in my last election," says Milne. "We're going to find people that share my beliefs, we're going to show up, we're going to work hard and we're going to be nice. Hopefully, we'll have a good, typical Vermont election where we talk about America and Vermont and what's best for our kids or grandkids in our country."

Leahy, who will turn 76 on Thursday, was first elected to the Senate in 1974. He has now served 42 years in that chamber. Milne says "it's time for change."

"I think if I can be perceived as a credible change, I'm not going to be in the pockets of the national Republicans, I'm not going to be in the pockets of big money," he says "I'm going to be in the pockets of the poor working Vermonters, blue collar people who haven't seen wage increases haven't seen job opportunities."

Milne says he realizes that he would enter a race against Leahy as a serious underdog and a recent VPR poll confirms that belief.

University of Vermont political science professor Garrison Nelson says there's another important consideration.

"I'm not going to be in the pockets of the national Republicans, I'm not going to be in the pockets of big money ... I'm going to be in the pockets of the poor working Vermonters, blue collar people who haven't seen wage increases haven't seen job opportunities." — Scott Milne

"Vermont has never, I want to underline, never," Nelson explains, "voted out an elected U.S. senator. Never ... So that would indicate that that wouldn't be a likely scenario." 

And Nelson says Vermont isn't experiencing the kind of anti-establishment political movement that's taking place in a number of states.

"While there may be massive dissatisfaction elsewhere in America, there's not massive dissatisfaction in the state of Vermont," says Nelson. "So that particular infection has not yet arrived in the state."

Milne says he expects to make a formal announcement about his future political plans sometime in May.