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Vermont Secretary of State breaks tradition and endorses candidate

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos
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Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos

Outgoing Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos has broken his long tradition of not endorsing any candidates.

Condos, a Democrat, has been serving in the position for nearly 12 years. He announced in February that he would retire and not run for re-election.

During his time as Secretary of State, Condos has never endorsed a candidate. But on Thursday he broke his tradition to back current Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters, who is running to replace him.

“Although I have refrained from endorsing any state or local candidate during my 12 years as Secretary of State I’ve decided it is time for me to speak up because this election is way too important. When I announced my retirement several months ago I said that the people of Vermont would not find anyone more dedicated or knowledgeable about this office than Chris Winters and that he would be an excellent Secretary of State for Vermont. I reiterate that sentiment today and will add this: He is the only candidate with the right background and experience to do the job.”

Condos said he is concerned about some comments made by other candidates in the race.

“This is about who is the most qualified person and this is not a time for someone to come in and learn on the job. The question has come up to me about whether the other candidates actually know what the job is about. And one of the areas that is a real concern to me is both of the other candidates their comments about transparency, about the open meeting law, about the public records act seem to be a little unsettling to me.”

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz served from 1998-2010 and worked with Winters during her tenure.

“He really knows the office. He knows Vermont and he has a real vision for the office that is grounded in what the Secretary of State’s office really does and how It serves Vermonters.”

Winters hopes the high-profile endorsements catch the attention of primary voters.

“I’m a tested and proven leader. I’ve got a track record of results and I’ve already done the job. And that’s what all these endorsers are saying and I hope that message gets out to more people because voting is already underway.”

“I don’t think that every endorsement makes a difference," adds Secretary Condos, "But I think a combination of endorsements does. You know when you have the two most recent Secretaries of State, 24 years of service between them, I think that makes a difference.”

Democrats Sarah Copeland Hanzas and John Odum are also seeking the Secretary of State nomination from voters on the August 9th primary.

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