Political Analysts Say Recount Has Risks For Democrats

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(Host) Some longtime political observers question whether the Democrats will be hurt by the Democratic race recount.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Political analysts, like Middlebury College political science professor emeritus Eric Davis, think there are compelling arguments to both support and oppose Racine’s decision to seek a recount.

But Davis says the bottom line is that the Democrats won’t have a spokesperson to counter the policies of Republican candidate Brian Dubie for the next few weeks.

(Davis) "There are arguments to be made on both sides. I would say that an important element of any campaign is messaging and communication. And the question I would have is, over the roughly two to two-and-a-half weeks it may take to conduct this recount, what is the Democratic message? What is the Democratic communication strategy ?"

(Kinzel) And Davis says it will be very difficult for Peter Shumlin to aggressively raise money during this period of what is essentially "candidate limbo."

(Davis) "There are certain things he can do in the background. But, obviously, it’s going to be very difficult to ask people to give money until we know for sure who the Democratic nominee will be. Meanwhile, Brian Dubie has $600,000 in the  bank and is going to be continuing to raise money while the Democrats are recounting."

(Kinzel) UVM political science professor Garrison Nelson says Racine’s decision is great news for Brian Dubie because Dubie will have a free ride for the next few weeks.

But Nelson says he’s not surprised by Racine’s decision because he says this loss would mark Racine’s third defeat in a statewide race.

(Nelson) "In some ways, this is Doug Racine’s last hurrah should he lose this race. This would be three strikes and I think that would pretty much finish him off as a statewide candidate. On the other hand, if he can pull this out and win this recount, then he’s still in the game."

(Kinzel) Nelson thinks that the Democratic Party itself is responsible for this situation because it didn’t encourage any of the five gubernatorial candidates to run for other vacant statewide offices.

(Nelson) "You had four vacancies, yet the Democratic leaders – quote – "chose" to let five quality candidates run for one office. In some ways they brought this on themselves."

(Kinzel) Racine will be able to formally ask for a recount after the statewide canvassing committee certifies the vote count next Tuesday.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier

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