Vermont Governor Phil Scott broke with his party on Tuesday and became the first incumbent Republican governor to publicly support the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.
He told reporters outside his Berlin office that he voted for Biden in this year’s presidential election.
“I put the country above the party,” Scott said according to Seven Days.
“It was a bit of a struggle for me, but in the end I voted for Joe Biden,” he added.
While other prominent Republicans have publicly endorsed Biden for president, Scott is the first GOP lawmaker to do so currently in office. The governor said this is the first time he has ever voted blue for a presidential candidate.
For months Scott had said he would not vote for Republican President Donald Trump, but he had not indicated who he would vote for.
“I was pretty adamant about not supporting the president,” Scott said during a new coronavirus meeting in August. “I will not vote for President Trump.”
At the time, Scott said he had not yet decided whether or not to vote for Biden, but noted, “This is something I would consider. I just haven’t made that decision at this point.
The Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, and the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, also said they would not support Trump, but they did not vote for Biden. Hogan told reporters that he wrote in Ronald Reagan while Baker said he left his ballot blank.
Scott has been a vocal critic of the President since his first candidacy.
He also did not support Trump in the last presidential election. The governor said he had written to former Republican governor Jim Douglas for the presidency in 2016.
Already in February 2019 Scott supported the Democratic impeachment investigation with the words: “I believe that the president has abused his power”.
“I did not vote for the President, and I do not believe that he should be in office,” he added during a press conference.
Scott told reporters on Tuesday that he hoped Biden knew that if he won the election, he would do so because of more moderate voters like himself.
“It is also my hope that he will realize that if he is elected, it was not the law that voted for him,” the governor said according to Seven Days. “It wasn’t the far left that elected him,” the governor said. It was the moderates, the centrists – and here I am. Because if he is elected, it is because the moderates and the centrists defended him.
Scott himself is up for re-election this year against Democratic vice-governor David Zuckerman, but is strongly favored to win.
Washington Newsday asked for comments on the Biden and Trump campaign, but heard no response before the publication.
Vermont has challenged the Democrats in every presidential election since 1988, when the state chose President George H.W. Bush.