Liberty Union Candidates Run in Progressive Primaries

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(Host) Vermont’s Progressive Party will be holding its first statewide primary in September. Party officials say they are not concerned that a number of Liberty Union candidates are seeking office under the Progressive banner.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Party officials have made it very clear that they would prefer to have only two Progressive candidates running statewide this fall – Anthony Pollina in the race for lieutenant governor and Cindy Hill in the attorney general’s contest. In the past, the Party could control this situation because candidates were chosen at a state convention. But this year the Progressive Party has major party status, so candidates will be elected through the primary process.

Montpelier writer Michael Badamo disagreed with the decision to leave the governor s race vacant so Badamo is seeking the Party’s nomination and now longtime Liberty Union candidate Peter Diamondstone has filed petitions for the gubernatorial race.

Diamonstone is not the only Liberty Union candidate to enter the Progressive primary. Boots Wardinski is challenging Cindy Hill in the attorney general’s race and Jane Newton is seeking the Party’s U.S. House nomination.

Progressive Party Chair Martha Abbott says there are many different points of view within the party concerning how to deal with these new candidates. Abbott acknowledges that some Party members want to write in the names of other candidates – candidates who would then decline to run – as a way to insure that Party concentrates its efforts on only Pollina and Hill s races:

(Abbott) “People have a lot of ideas about, you know, how they would like to handle this. And there is a variety of opinion with in the Party and some people want us to stay out of certain races and other people support candidates of other parties in certain races. It is kind of a free for all, this primary process that we have, and they are people who would feel that. We hope that Progressives and people who support what we are doing are the people who will choose our candidates.”

(Kinzel) Diamondstone says he admires the work of the Progressive Party and he says he’s entering their gubernatorial primary as a way to influence the discussion of issues in the weeks leading up to the primary election:

(Diamondstone) “This is not about political parties and it s not about candidates. It’s about voters and hiring people, from my point of view. Giving the voters more options is the right way to go. That doesn’t mean that everybody is going to agree with me.”

(Kinzel) Progressive Party Chair Martha Abbott says the Party is urging voters to write in Bernie Sanders name in the Congressional race because Abbott says it makes no sense at all for the Progressives to run a candidate against Sanders.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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