Politics

Republican Kevin Divney withdraws from state treasurer’s race days after DUI charge surfaces

Financial analyst Kevin Divney appears on CNBC in 2019. Screenshot courtesy CNBC

Last Thursday, Londonderry financial analyst Kevin Divney showed up at the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office to declare his candidacy as a Republican contender for state treasurer. On Tuesday, he dropped out of the race.

Vermont Republican Party chair Paul Dame confirmed to VTDigger that Divney is withdrawing from the primary. Divney could not immediately be reached for comment.

His withdrawal comes days after Seven Days reported that the candidate’s car crashed early in the morning on May 11, leading to an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence. Divney declined to comment to Seven Days on his whereabouts the night of the arrest. He has since pleaded not guilty.

Divney, 57, had the backing of the party during his short-lived candidacy. When Divney filed his paperwork on Thursday, Dame issued a written statement calling him “one of the best candidates we’ve had for State Treasurer in years.”

With Divney’s withdrawal, perennial candidate H. Brooke Paige is the only contender set to appear on Republican voters’ primary ballots across four races for statewide office come Aug. 9: treasurer, secretary of state, auditor of accounts and attorney general. Three of those seats are open. Only Doug Hoffer, the incumbent Democratic state auditor, is running for reelection.

Primary competition for the treasurer’s race is lacking across the aisle, too. Former Financial Regulation Commissioner Mike Pieciak is unopposed in the Democratic primary, as is Don Schramm in the Progressive primary. 

In an election season with a historic number of open statewide races, Dame told VTDigger Tuesday that the state Republican Party has not given up on recruiting candidates. 

Should Paige prevail in all four Republican primaries, the party has until shortly after the Aug. 9 election to nominate replacement candidates to run on the general election ballot for each position, so long as Paige agrees to withdraw from those races. Dame said Tuesday that Paige has already agreed to do so if that happens.

Dame said Paige’s placeholder candidacy throughout the primary cycle prevents Democrats from waging write-in Republican primary campaigns alongside their Democratic primary campaigns. In the past, some Democratic candidates have won both their own primary plus the Republican primary with enough write-in votes. They then advanced to the general election unopposed.

“What Brooke is trying to do is at least say, ‘All right, we're gonna keep the line for Republicans,’” Dame said. “We're not going to have this Democrat-slash-Republican stuff. We'll at least put a name in there to give people a choice.”

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Sarah Mearhoff

About Sarah

Sarah Mearhoff is one of VTDigger's political reporters, covering the Vermont statehouse, executive branch and congressional delegation. Prior to joining Digger, she covered Minnesota and South Dakota state politics for Forum Communications' newspapers across the Upper Midwest for three years. She has also covered politics in Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she is a proud alumna of the Pennsylvania State University where she studied journalism.

Email: [email protected]

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