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Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Seeks Republican Write-In Votes

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The Libertarian candidate for Vermont governor is mounting a write-in campaign to also obtain the Republican nomination.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano launched a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination Thursday in Waterbury.

The move by Feliciano irritates both the Republican and Libertarian party leaders. Jeremy Ryan, Vermont Libertarian party chair, issued a press release noting that Feliciano’s move is quite controversial within the party.  “We discussed it in the state committee and a majority of us didn’t support the move. We would have preferred that he stayed as Libertarian only. We were concerned about how it could confuse voters and it might cause people to question whether or not he’s still a Libertarian. We have a lot of members that have come to us recently from both sides. People from the left side we feel would be, might be,  possibly disillusioned or confused by our candidate all of a sudden seeking the Republican nomination. And so we felt that it wasn’t the best thing for him to go ahead with.  But we realize that this all started back in June, really. He started getting a lot of support from some Republican members urging him to seek the nomination.”

State Republican Chair David Sunderland says his party and the Libertarians share several core values including free market, limited government, and personal liberty. But he adds that they diverge significantly on key issues.  “There is some common ground there. But I believe when Republicans look closer at some of the principle planks that go into the Libertarian platform they will be shocked and surprised at some of the really out of the mainstream and extreme views that are parts of the Libertarian party.  Some of those are the amnesty that they would like to provide for non-violent drug offenders.  Other views about social safety nets and environmental protection are not really consistent with the kinds of things that mainstream Vermonters are looking for”

Feliciano pointed to five issues he wants to debate before the election, but his spotlight is criticism of the Shumlin administration’s health care initiatives and Republican candidate Scott Milne’s lack of health care polices.  A key backer of Feliciano is the head of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, an outspoken critic of single-payer health care. Middlebury College Professor Emeritus of Political Science Eric Davis says that’s the Republican audience the candidate is courting.  “The substantive argument Feliciano is making is that if Republican primary voters are really opposed to single payer health care they should write in his name because he’s the only candidate who is firmly opposed to single payer.  Scott Milne says he’s not made up his mind about it yet.  Some conservative Republicans believe that the state Republican party needs to sharpen the lines of difference between itself and Governor Shumlin on the health care issue and that Scott Milne is not doing so and Republicans should vote for Dan Feliciano.  What this says to me is that the Vermont Republican Party has some internal conflicts that are serious.”

Calls to Dan Feliciano were not returned in time for broadcast. Davis expects the Republican primary turnout will be light: between 15 and 20 thousand, and that Feliciano will receive only a few hundred write-in votes.

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