Shumlin likely to enter gubernatorial race

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(Host) A Democratic gubernatorial primary is shaping up as a likelihood next year. Former state Senator Peter Shumlin says there’s a “99%” chance that he’ll enter this race and face a primary against Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Shumlin, who ran for lieutenant governor and lost in a three-way race in 2002, has been considering a possible run for governor for several months. His review of the race became more complicated several weeks ago when Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle, who’s been elected as a Progressive, announced that he’s going to run for governor next year as a Democrat.

Shumlin says he wants to run for governor because he’s been very disappointed by the policies of Republican Governor Jim Douglas:

(Shumlin) “I’m very interested in the possibility of running for governor. I’ve been spending the last couple of months out talking to a lot of Vermonters, not just Democrats but people across the state, and I can tell you there’s tremendous unhappiness with the direction that this state is taking. I’m hearing that they’re frustrated, that they want a governor that leads, that they want a governor that will actually take bold positions on the issues that we’re facing in Vermont. And they just don’t see much happening in Montpelier.”

(Kinzel) The party’s candidate for governor in 2002, Doug Racine, is also weighing his options for next year. Shumlin doesn’t think a primary contest against Clavelle and or Racine will be a bad thing for the Democrats:

(Shumlin) “I think the three of us, if we all entered the race, could actually focus on the lack of results from the Douglas administration. And if we all did that together it could be a very positive thing. What we’d want to avoid is the kind of thing the Democratic candidates for president are doing, where they spend more time picking on each other than they do on the problem: George Bush.”

(Kinzel) The Democrats could also face a primary in the race for lieutenant governor. In recent weeks, two former state senators, Jan Backus and Cheryl Rivers have both indicated that they’re very serious about running for the post.

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

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