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Shap Smith Meeting With Potential Campaign Aides As He Ponders Run For Governor

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Angela Evancie
/
VPR
"I have been talking to people about them working with me if I decide to move forward," House Speaker Shap Smith said Thursday about a potential bid for Vermont governor.

Vermont’s a small state. Shap Smith is a recognizable guy. So it didn’t take long for word to hit the Twitter-sphere Thursday afternoon that the Democratic Speaker of the House was talking with someone in a Burlington-area coffee shop about social media strategy for a possible gubernatorial campaign.

Someone using the Twitter account of the Industrial Workers of the World of Vermont posted this nugget at about 2:30 Thursday afternoon:

Smith later said in a phone interview that he had in fact been talking with someone about work on a possible campaign. But he said the conversation wasn’t a job interview, rather it was a feeler of sorts to find out what the person might be able to offer if he does decide to run.

“I have been talking to people about them working with me if I decide to move forward,” Smith said Thursday.

It turns out Smith had two conversations in separate coffee shops Thursday with would-be campaign helpers. He says it isn’t the first time he’s had discussions of this sort. Though he hasn’t made any official hires, Smith says he has a good sense of who will be running the campaign, if he pulls the trigger on a gubernatorial candidacy.

“I’m serious about a decision by the end of the month, and I think anybody who is currently contemplating whether they’re going to run or not is going to be making sure they have people there to support them if they do,” Smith said.

Smith is one of several Democrats publicly weighing a bid for governor right. Former state senator Matt Dunne, Transportation Secretary Sue Minter, and former Human Services Secretary Doug Racine also say they’re mulling candidacies.

Vermont Public Radio was unable to get an interview with the author of the tweet in question. The IWW of Vermont has worked closely with the Vermont Workers Center, which lambasted Gov. Peter Shumlin, Smith and other Democratic legislators earlier this year for abandoning single-payer health care, and for not raising more revenues from wealthier residents of the state.

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