Illuzzi Casts Himself as Independent Republican in Auditor’s Race

DERBY – Sen. Vince Illuzzi said Wednesday that he will be filing the paperwork with the Secretary of State today to run for state auditor. However, he won’t make a formal announcement until later this year.“It may be later this month or it may be in September,” said Illuzzi, who is running as a Republican. “I’m still talking with folks about when to do that.”Illuzzi is facing off against Doug Hoffer, a Burlington Progressive who is seeking the Democratic nomination. Illuzzi delayed filing the necessary paperwork to help his senate district. If Illuzzi made an announcement prior to the May 22 adjournment date, his senate district risked losing a seat because population in his district had not grown as fast as some other parts of the state. “This area forevermore probably would have been reduced to one senator,” said Illuzzi, who sat on the Special Senate Reapportionment Committee. “After having been re-elected for 32 years from this district, it would have been unfair for me to put my own plans ahead of the future of this area.”As a courtesy to Illuzzi, committee members were willing to retain both seats, as long as there was a prospect of him seeking re-election. Both senate seats are safe until the legislature looks at the districts again in 10 years. Unless something changes between now and then, the senate seats will most likely be reduced.Supporters have urged Illuzzi to run for state auditor for several months. Illuzzi said he knew in April that current auditor Tom Salmon of St. Johnsbury was looking for work in Washington, D.C. Salmon is a contender for a position in the Inspector General’s Office.Illuzzi also struggled with deciding to run as a Republican or Independent. Aside from the Northeast Kingdom, the majority of the state leans to Democratic. Illuzzi said many of his Democratic friends in the legislature urged him to run as an Independent.“I gave that very serious consideration,” he said. “In fact, I’ve collected over 500 signatures to run as an Independent. After conferring with folks, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been an Independent Republican for 32 years and Vermont is what it is today because, in large part, of Republicans.”For the past 10 years, Illuzzi has run for the Vermont State Senate as a Republican but picked up the Democratic nomination as well.“I’m calling myself an Independent Republican, which is what my legislative record reflects over the past 32 years,” Illuzzi said.Illuzzi sees himself as a protégé of well-known political leaders like former Gov. Ernest Gibson, Franklin Billings, former Gov. George Aiken and former Rep. Jim Jeffords. Illuzzi said he’s independently minded, not driven by ideology, but common sense solutions and practical considerations.He said it’s too early to tell if he will step down from his position as Essex County State’s Attorney. That term is up in January of 2014.