Democrat-turned Republican considers Vermont Senate run
March 3rd, 2011
09:54 AM ET
11 years ago

Democrat-turned Republican considers Vermont Senate run

Washington (CNN) - Vermont Auditor Tom Salmon announced late Wednesday that he is seriously considering challenging Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2012, an independent who has represented the state for two decades on Capitol Hill.

Salmon, a former Democrat who switched to the Republican Party in the fall of 2009, told voters at that time his fiscal ideology was more in line with the GOP. He was first elected auditor in 2006, and acknowledged that it will be difficult to defeat Sanders next year.

"I understand that a campaign against an incumbent like Senator Sanders is no easy task," said Salmon, who was re-elected auditor as a Republican in 2010. "At the same time, I believe that no one is entitled to re-election year after year after year. No one is entitled to any office. Democracy only works when our elected officials are held accountable each and every election cycle through vigorous debate, an airing of the facts, and an examination of the record."

Salmon's father served as Vermont's governor in the 1970's.

Sanders was first elected to the Senate in 2006, trouncing his Republican opponent by a more than 2-to1 margin. He previously served 16 years in the House. While he describes his political ideology as independent, Sanders aligns himself with the Democrats and is part of the party's 53 seat majority in the chamber.

Vermont will be a difficult pick-up for Republicans in 2012. It is a solid Democratic state: President Obama carried it in 2008 and veteran Sen. Patrick Leahy easily won a seventh term in 2010. A Republican operative, who has been following the race, acknowledged that "it will be very difficult to beat Sanders," but added that Salmon is "a very credible candidate in a state that is very difficult for Republicans."

While Republicans face a tough challenge in Vermont, the overall electoral map favors the GOP at this time. Democrats must defend 23 seats, while Republicans only need to protect 10 in 2012.

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Filed under: Vermont
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Darth Vadik, CA

    No one likes a turncoat....

    March 3, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Salmon has a fiscal ideology that is more in line with republicans: unfunded wars, tax cuts, big oil tax breaks, etc. That means he supports millionaires, billionaires, big businesses, foreign corporations over 98% of the population. He doeas have a nice haircut and suit, and that get him the repube nomination.

    March 3, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. DENNA

    Hmmm. Did you switch because of President Obama? Just asking. I have seen a lot of nonsense lately. My favorite is the worry about government spending. We spent millions into the billions on an unfunded war in Iraq and no one uttered a single objections. Especially not the Republicans who backed Bush as we were lead down the path of financial destruction. As soon as a Democratic president is elected, a black man, and tries to spend money on America and its people, NOW the Rethug/Tea Party is worried about spending. Why now? Why not when this wild spending started under Bush and actually before Bush II. Is there anyone at all who is honest enough to answer that question. Any Tea Partier? Any other conservative? No. I didn't think so.

    March 3, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. ConservaFascists

    This guy has no chance of beating Sen. Sanders. A democrat turned republican? It's usually the other way around. Just because your daddy was governor doesn't mean that you're the right man for the job.

    March 3, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Russ

    There is no such thing as a Democrat truned Republican. He was always a Republican trying to act like a Democrat. Wearing sheeps clothing doesn't make a wolf a sheep.

    March 3, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Ha Ha !

    Just another band wagoner from last year ! The only problem is he picked the wrong side ! The republicans have finally shown their true colors and people are starting to turn against them ! By then end of this year with the economy rebounding the way it has and the lies that the republicans told last year being exposed ! The republican brand will be almost as unpopular as it was in 2008 ! That's what you get for being a fence sitter , you should have stayed true to who you are and thing's would have worked out better for you !

    March 3, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Clwyd

    I can only wish him failure in light of the way the republicans are attacking the working middle class and being bought by business and corporate lobbyists!

    March 3, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. marty

    Bernie Sanders is one of the few reasoned voices in the Senate and I sincerely hope that his state of Vermont votes to keep him as their Senator. Mr.. Salmon appears to be another political flipper.

    March 3, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Liz the First

    Democrata turned republican. hmmm. i didn't think it was medically possible to live after having one's brain and heart surgically removed.

    March 3, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. AEJ

    You WORTHLESS FELLA, you do not stand a chance. The "Republican" brand is damaged andwill NOT stand a chance in 2012. You are wolf in sheep clothing and would be voted out in no time. Do not be fooled and compare 2010 elections year with a 2012 election year.


    March 3, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Michael

    Gone over to the Dark Side.
    God have mercy on his soul.

    March 3, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    Bernie Sanders represents the people and has demonstrated he believes in creating long-term, sustainable growth that benefits Americans.

    The GOP represents the multi-national corporations who have demonstrated they don't give a rat's behind about anything except short-term financial gain and the bottom line.

    Pretty simple.

    March 3, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. FloridaRes

    Vermont has a good person in Sanders! So why shouldn't a turncoat try an exercise in futility?

    March 3, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. Nancy5545

    He's more in line fically with Republicans? Who does he think got us into this mess? He must really think Americans are stupid.

    March 3, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Starman

    Fail. this man is paid off by someone to switch from a demo to a rep.. PERIOD. I could understand demo to ind... but the earlier is far to radical.

    March 3, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. gt

    good luck.... sanders is a socialist...the far left poster boy...and he needs a hair cut...

    March 3, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. T'sah from Virginia

    I think when some get behind in their mortgage or car notes, they decide to RUN for a government office for the $$$$$$$$$$$$$!!! Maybe Salmon should write a book because that is another prerequisite!!

    March 3, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |