Dunne defeats Tracy in Democratic primary for Lt. Governor

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(Host) Windsor County Senator Matt Dunne has defeated Burlington Representative John Patrick Tracy in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

With 216 of 260 precincts reporting, Dunne had about 59% of the vote, compared to 41% for Tracy, according to unofficial returns.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Dunne ran an aggressive, grassroots campaign. He announced last December. And by the end of August he had raised about $160,000 dollars, compared to Tracy’s $49,000.

The Windsor County senator says he’ll need those resources to wage an effective race against two-term Republican incumbent Brian Dubie.

(Dunne) “We were committed to making sure that all of the work we did in the primary built toward the general election. There’s no way to win an election against an incumbent who is well known in eight weeks. So we set out to achieve a level of name recognition, and reaching out to Vermonters, and demonstrating the kind of change that I believe Vermonters really want right now in every step of our primary campaign.”

(Dillon) The 37-year-old Dunne was first elected to the Vermont House right out of college. He later served as director of AmeriCorps Vista in the Clinton Administration.

He drew on that background during his primary campaign to run a series of volunteer service events throughout the state.

(Dunne) “People saw that as clearly demonstrating that we’re ready to not just talk about issues, but do something about the problems that we are confronting in our state.”

(Dillon) Tracy, who served as chair of the House Health Committee, says Dunne gained an early lead in endorsements, organization and fundraising.

(Tracy) “The early time and effort paid off. I wouldn’t do anything differently because health care was the most important thing to me. And that’s why I got into public service. That felt good, and I’ve got a health care meeting tomorrow morning I’ve got to go to. He ran a good campaign, and I will support him in the general.”

(Dillon) Dunne says he’ll now challenge Republican Brian Dubie for his support of President Bush. He says he’ll also focus on his plans to transform the Lieutenant Governor’s office into a more activist position.

Dubie, meanwhile, is serving a short term assignment in Iraq as part of his duties as an officer in the Air Force reserves.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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