A Republican candidate for state treasurer was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence earlier this month after crashing his car in the early morning hours.
Kevin Divney, a 57-year-old financial analyst who lives in Londonderry, was arrested around 3:45 a.m. on May 11 in the town of Landgrove. A Vermont State Police press release later that day said he showed “signs of impairment.” The release did not say whether he was injured in the crash. Divney pleaded not guilty to a DUI charge in Bennington County on Monday. The court clerk’s office has not responded to a request for documents related to Divney’s case.
In a phone interview on Friday, Divney told Seven Days that he was heading home on the night of his arrest, but he would not say from where. “I have no history of any of this in my driving record for 40 years,” he said. “None.”
He declined to comment further on what happened that night, saying he needed to first talk to his attorney. “I wish I could speak more because there are things I want to tell you and to tell the world,” he said. “But I’ve got to keep my mouth shut — for now.”
Divney was more willing to discuss his candidacy, explaining how he began considering a run for treasurer after he was contacted by the state GOP not long after his arrest. A phone call with former Republican governor Jim Douglas, who once held the treasurer position, ultimately convinced him to run, he said.
“Taking my private sector skills and applying them to the public sector to give back was the main motivation,” Divney said.
When Divney filed his petition on Thursday, three days after his arraignment, he became one of two candidates in the Republican primary. H. Brooke Paige, political gadfly and perennial statewide candidate, is the other. The rest of the field includes former financial regulation commissioner Mike Pieciak, who’s running unopposed in the Democratic primary, and Don Schramm, who’s seeking the Progressive Party’s nomination.
Democratic Treasurer Beth Pearce decided not to seek reelection due to health problems.
Divney, an accomplished financial analyst, was immediately embraced by the state GOP. In a Youtube video, state GOP chair Paul Dame recalled how he and other party leaders scrambled this week to help Divney collect signatures ahead of the Thursday 5 p.m. petition deadline.
A press release that same day described how Divney has managed investment funds with assets of over $12 billion — almost twice as large as the state budget. The release also noted that he is a frequent guest on Bloomberg TV and CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” as well as a licensed pilot who serves in a volunteer arm of the U.S. Air Force known as the Civil Air Patrol.
“I think Kevin is one of the best candidates we’ve had for State Treasurer in years,” Dame said in the press release.
Dame told Seven Days on Friday that he did not know about Divney’s arrest when he began helping the candidate about a week ago. But he said Divney disclosed it to him before filing his petition.
The arrest did not dampen Dame’s excitement. “Although I don’t know the details of exactly what happened, it’s very uncharacteristic,” Dame said. “It doesn’t look like a pattern, and I think he’s got some of the best technical experience that we’ve had for somebody in this position.”
“At the end of the day, voters will decide,” Dame added.
Divney, meanwhile, wasn’t sure how voters might react. “In my mind, it’s not a big matter in the sense that —” he began, before interrupting himself. “Well, I’m talking about it; I shouldn’t be talking about it.”
“I don’t have a clear answer on that,” Divney finally landed on. “I just think that the issues are so important.”