- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Google executive and former Vermont lawmaker Matt Dunne announced Wednesday he is running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2016.

Dunne faces a primary contest against House Speaker Shap Smith, who announced his candidacy two weeks ago, and possibly against Transportation Secretary and former lawmaker Sue Minter, who has said she’s seriously considering getting into the race. The only announced Republican so far is retired Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman, who entered the race Tuesday. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott also has indicated he’s a likely candidate.

“Over the last few months I have been speaking with many of you about the challenges Vermont is facing. From those conversations, it is clear that our state is at a critical juncture. Vermonters are looking for a fresh approach,” Dunne said in a statement emailed to supporters.

The 45-year-old Hartland resident said he had raised more than $200,000 for the run before making the official announcement.

Dunne will continue with a series of community forums around the state he has already begun, and will make a formal campaign kickoff later in the fall, he said.



In his announcement, Dunne said he was buoyed by the support he has been seeing.

“The energy from your emails, phone calls, and the animated conversation at our first community gathering in Rutland has been inspiring,” he wrote.

The announcement did not contain any specific program proposals, but Dunne said those would be rolled out later in the campaign.

“We’re going to do a more sort of traditional announcement later, after we do these community forums,” Dunne said, adding that 18 more forums were scheduled this month in all 14 of the state’s counties. “It’s going to be input from those (forums) that will help us to shape the platform and the message for the campaign,” he said.

Dunne, who was elected to the state House at 22 and later served in the Senate, lost in a five-way race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2010, after losing in a race for lieutenant governor against then-incumbent Republican Brian Dubie in 2006.

After the 2006 campaign, California-based Google hired Dunne as head of community affairs, allowing him to work from White River Junction. He previously had headed up AmeriCorps VISTA, a federal anti-poverty agency.

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This story has been corrected to show that Bruce Lisman entered the race Tuesday, not Monday.

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