For a Republican to mount a successful bid against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only self-proclaimed socialist in Congress, it would take “a miracle.”
And that’s exactly what John MacGovern is hoping for. The Windsor, Vt. resident is collecting signatures to get on the November ballot.
“Vermont has a reputation for being quirky and electing people like Sanders,” MacGovern told The Daily Caller. But that quirkiness could also work in his favor, he said.
“I think even in Vermont you can have some amazing things happen this coming November.”
MacGovern runs the Hanover Institute, a conservative non-profit that dabbles in university politics and, he told TheDC, educates Dartmouth College alumni. He graduated in 1980.
He and his wife, he said, “keep bees and enjoy country life.”
But country life is a luxury MacGovern insisted he would be willing to sacrifice for the opportunity to attack the “crippling” financial situation facing the United States.
“I think it’s imperative that people get out of their chairs and do something,” MacGovern said.
“It’s a situation that’s clearly historic,” he said of the national debt and annual deficit spending. “It’s never been so large. And it threatens, if it continues on the present course, to cripple this country, bring it to its knees, and make it impossible for us to do the things we do here and around the world.”
“On top of all that I think the whole idea of it is immoral and unconscionable that you would be leaving that amount of debt for your children and grandchildren to pay,” he said.
And the national debt, he argued, is an issue that transcends party lines.
“I happen to be a limited government person. … There are others who think government ought to be doing a lot of things in people’s lives. But no matter what side of that issue you’re on, the debt makes it impossible to go forward,” he said.
MacGovern served four terms in the Massachusetts State Legislature, and narrowly lost a congressional bid in 1990. He has run for state senate in Vermont, unsuccessfully, twice.
“The bottom line is,” he said, “I do know a little bit about campaigns and what is required.”
For the moment, MacGovern’s campaign is focused on raising money, spreading the news of his candidacy to Vermont Republicans and collecting enough petition signatures to earn a place on the fall ballot.
Fundraising has been tepid, though, with approximately $15,000 coming in since March. MacGovern told TheDC that some of those funds came from outside Vermont.
“The United States Senate writes laws for the country, not just Vermont,” MacGovern said. “So it could be, and I think should be, a national campaign, in a way.”
A national campaign against a socialist U.S. senator, he said, could catch fire among tea partiers and other conservatives.
MacGovern said he sees himself as an underdog. But if he can unseat arguably the most liberal member of the Senate, he says, “it would be the shot heard ‘round the world.”