Is Vermont the new Confederacy? Nine candidates for office in the Green Mountain State favor secession from the U.S., including gubernatorial candidate Dennis P. Steele and Peter Garritano, who is up for lieutenant governor. Although Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, and New Hampshire have bandied about the idea of secession for years, the Vermont races mark the first time since the Civil War that a secession movement has fielded a whole set of candidates for statewide office. The secessionists say that Vermont could fund its own Social Security, health care, and road-maintenance programs using the billions of dollars they'd save from not paying federal taxes, although details on the prospective new order are lacking. Most political observers believe there is scant chance of the secessionists winning, even in left-leaning Vermont.