Galbraith moves closer to running for governor

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(Host) Democrat Peter Galbraith says he hasn’t decided whether to run for governor. But he’s moving closer – raising money and lining up political support.

He just sent out a fundraising appeal for the state Democratic Party.

And today Galbraith gave a speech to House Democrats that made him sound very much like a candidate.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Galbraith has been a U.S. diplomat in some of the most volatile regions of the world: the Middle East, the Balkans and East Timor in Indonesia.

In 1995, he helped broker a peace deal that ended the conflict in Croatia.

Galbraith told House Democrats that he could put the same negotiating skills to use in Vermont.

(Galbraith) “While I certainly mean no comparison between the characters in the former Yugoslavia on the one hand, and the struggles that take place here between the Legislature and the governor. Nonetheless, I feel that the same skill – the same negotiating – bringing people together, focusing on results – is what we need to have if we are to move forward.”

(Dillon) Galbraith won’t say when he’ll decide whether to challenge Republican Governor Jim Douglas. Officially, he’s still just seriously considering the idea.

But as Democratic staff members handed out copies of his speech to reporters, it was clear his remarks had all the basic elements of a stump speech. There was the reference to the "winds of change" sweeping through the political landscape. He blamed Douglas for blocking progress on some issues.

(Galbraith) “The Legislature and this caucus have worked hard to promote progressive change in health care, climate protection in clean government and campaign finance reform – only to be stymied by the current administration in the Statehouse.”

(Dillon) Galbraith was involved in Vermont Democratic politics in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, when he chaired the state party. He hasn’t held elected office. He said he ran unsuccessfully for justice of the peace in Townshend in 1976.

So he’ll have to work hard to introduce himself to voters.

Part of that introduction came this week with a fundraising letter to Vermont Democrats. He’s asking them to contribute to a new “Vermont Leadership Fund” that will support Democratic candidates.

Democratic Party Chairman Ian Carleton said the money raised will go to the party, not to Galbraith’s potential campaign.

(Carleton) “This is more akin, I think, to an exploratory committee than it is to a campaign fund for campaigning purposes.”

(Dillon) Progressive Anthony Pollina says he’s also a candidate for governor. Pollina wants Democratic support, and Galbraith says one way to get that is for Pollina to run in the Democratic primary.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.


AP Photo/Toby Talbot

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