Ralston considers Senate bid as independent

MIDDLEBURY — Vermont Coffee Company founder and CEO Paul Ralston of New Haven will likely run as an independent for the state Senate, should he decide to officially enter the race.
The former Middlebury state representative, who now lives in New Haven, continues to weigh the pros and cons of committing to a run for one of the two Senate seats representing Addison County, Huntington and Buel’s Gore. Incumbent Sen. Chris Bray, D-New Haven, Middlebury Democrat Ruth Hardy and Addison Republican Peter Briggs are already confirmed candidates.
The election picture will become clearer on Thursday, May 31, the deadline for major party candidates to file their primary petitions with the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office. Independent and minor party candidates have until Aug. 9 to file their statement of nomination and consent forms with the office.
“At this point, I am considering a run for the Vermont Senate as an independent,” Ralston declared in a May 29 email.
Running as an independent, Ralston believes, would allow him to work more effectively with Democrats and Republicans on some of the major issues confronting the state.
He promised to reach out to area residents and officials to gauge the potential success of an independent bid in Addison County, where Democrats hold the vast majority of available legislative seats.
Ralston represented Middlebury as a Democrat in the Vermont House from 2011 through 2014. He decided not to run for re-election in 2014, citing mounting professional commitments.
But Ralston, 65, has put together a management team for his business that he believes would free him up to serve in Montpelier during the next biennium, should he run and be elected. He acknowledged his interest in the position comes in wake of incumbent Sen. Claire Ayer’s May 3 announcement to not seek another term.
Ralston served on the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, dealing with programs and policies to stimulate business growth in the state.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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