Election Briefs

Breaking tradition, Jim Condos endorses deputy Chris Winters for secretary of state

Jul 7 2022, 4:52 PM
Chris Winters
Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters is running to succeed his boss, Jim Condos, who endorsed him on Thursday. File photo by Viola Gad/VTDigger

Secretary of State Jim Condos on Thursday broke his 12-year tradition of staying out of electoral politics by publicly endorsing Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters to succeed him in office.

“Although I've 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,” Condos said at a news conference.

Winters launched his campaign to succeed Condos in February, two days after Condos announced he wouldn’t seek reelection. At the time, Condos stopped just short of officially endorsing his second-in-command, saying, “You won’t find anyone more dedicated or knowledgeable about this office than Chris.”

Jim Condos
Secretary of State Jim Condos in August 2020. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

On Thursday, Condos took it a step further.

“My office has fully — we've insulated ourselves as much as possible from politics. I don't consider this politics because of the type of office that it is,” Condos said Thursday. “This is about who can do the job going forward, who's the most qualified person going forward. That's clearly Chris. He understands the office, and this is not a time for someone to come in and learn on the job.”

In June, Condos donated $500 to Winters’ campaign, according to Winters’ latest campaign finance disclosure. Asked about the donation on Thursday, Condos said he has not donated to any other individual political candidates during his 12 years as secretary, to his recollection. He has donated to the Vermont Democratic Party, he said, usually for fundraisers.

As secretary of state, Condos oversees Vermont’s election administration. Winters has worked in the office for 25 years, including the last seven as Condos’s deputy. Deb Markowitz, who served as secretary of state prior to Condos, has also endorsed Winters and is serving as his campaign treasurer.

— Sarah Mearhoff

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