John Campbell considers race for governor

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(Host) Senate Majority leader John Campbell says there’s a good chance that he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

But that’s with a few "ifs"… …

If he can win the support of independents and moderate Democrats, if he can raise enough money, and if Progressive Anthony Pollina stays out of the race.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel)Campbell says he’s convinced that Republican three-term incumbent Governor Jim Douglas can be beaten next November if Democrats, Progressives and independent voters support a consensus candidate. The question is who that candidate is going to be.

Three Democrats are eyeing this race; Campbell, former state senator Matt Dunne and former ambassador Peter Galbraith.

In addition, Progressive Anthony Pollina is being encouraged by many members of his party to run for governor.

Campbell says there are three major factors influencing his decision. The first is drawing a specific group of voters away from Douglas.

(Campbell) "Whether the moderate Democrats or the Independents — who have in fact voted for Jim Douglas in the past — whether they would listen to someone with a different message and whether they could find themselves in a position where they might choose to support that person."

(Kinzel) Campbell says the second factor is his ability to raise enough money for the campaign. He believes he’ll need to spend about a million dollars to win the election.

The third factor is being able to challenge Douglas head to head without a third party candidate like Pollina in the race because Campbell says the split vote would ensure Douglas’s re-election.

(Campbell) "With Anthony or with a third party involved and if there is a third party candidate, I think it does put the race out of the realm of reality."

(Kinzel) Campbell says he hopes to reach out to Progressives in the coming weeks in an effort to win their support.

(Campbell) "And let them know what I see is the future of Vermont, what I think I can bring to the table, and if after having a conversation with me they chose and believe that I am not what they want, then it is well within their power and they should decide not to support me."

(Kinzel) Campbell faces a tough sell with the Progressives. Pollina says he doubts that many Progressives will support Campbell so Pollina’s strategy in the coming weeks is to reach out to Democrats.

(Pollina) "I think we’re going to do our best to convince grassroots Democrats as well as the leadership that it makes sense to unify around a candidate. And at this point I’ve been encouraged by a lot of Democrats as well as independents and others to be that candidate."

(Kinzel) Pollina’s supporters are hoping to demonstrate strong financial support for his candidacy in the next two months. They hope to raise at least $100,000 by the middle of January.

If they’re successful, it’s almost certain that Pollina will run in 2008. The big question then will be if he’ll also seek the Democratic nomination.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.



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