Pollina gets ready to formally launch campaign

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(Host) Anthony Pollina is getting ready to formally launch his campaign for governor late this week.

And, as VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, he’s also trying to establish himself as the candidate to unify the Vermont left.

(Sneyd) Vermont’s Progressives and Democrats are unified in their desire to unseat popular incumbent Governor Jim Douglas.

But they can’t agree on how to do that. Should both parties put up a candidate? Would that split the left and guarantee a fourth term for Douglas?

With Pollina formally making his intentions known, the questions take on added significance.

And so he wrote to the Democrats asking for an unprecedented meeting between himself, as the Progressives’ gubernatorial candidate, and the Democratic Party’s top leadership.

Meg Brook is managing Pollina’s campaign and explains the Progressives’ strategy.

(Brook) “We have been in communication with them. And the result of that communication – saying we would really like Anthony to come and speak to your state committee, so people have an idea, when they’re trying to decide what … to do in terms of finding a candidate for governor, that they’ve heard Anthony’s message and that they’ve been able to ask him questions about where he stands on issues.”

(Sneyd) The Democrats are meeting on Saturday, but they haven’t decided whether they want Pollina to make a presentation.

As Democratic Chairman Ian Carleton points out, there’s a years-long, sometimes rocky relationship between Pollina and top Democrats.

(Carleton) “Anthony’s request to come and speak to the Democratic Party is a little complex. As I think most people who follow Vermont politics know, Mr. Pollina has been one of the most outspoken critics of Vermont Democrats for quite some time.”

(Sneyd) And then there’s this: Democrats still might have a candidate of their own. Peter Galbraith of Townshend, a former U.S. ambassador and international expert, says he’s still thinking about a campaign.

But he also says he’s weighing whether he can make contributions in some other way.

(Galbraith) “One of the factors that will weigh in my thinking are the prospects of success and also where can I make the best contribution. I’ve just been in the last week in Iraq, where things are beginning to unravel. This is obviously an area of expertise, as is Pakistan, another part of the world that I’ve dealt with.”

(Sneyd) So where does this leave the gubernatorial race? Well, Jim Douglas is definitely in. As of Thursday, Anthony Pollina will be, too. And on Saturday, Democrats will talk it all over.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

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