Vermont’s Progressive Party Likely To Support Democrat For Governor

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(Host) The head of Vermont’s Progressive Party says it’s likely that his party will support the Democratic nominee for Governor this year. But that’s only if the winner of the Democratic Primary supports several key Progressive priorities.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) If you visit the Progressives’ website, you’ll see that they’re conducting a survey.  Here’s the question: should Martha Abbott stay on the ballot as the Party’s gubernatorial candidate regardless of who wins the 5 way Democratic primary.

Morgan Daybell is the executive director of the Vermont Progressive Party.

(Daybell) "We’ve had these discussions at the state committee level, but not everybody can take a Saturday off and get to the state committee. So we thought we’d put it up on the website and give more people an opportunity to weigh in."

(Kinzel) About 30 percent of the people responding to the survey say ‘yes’, Abbott should stay on the ticket no matter what.

But Daybell says the reality of the situation is quite different. He says that Abbott will almost certainly step down as a candidate, no matter who wins the Democratic primary, as long as the winning candidate is committed to closing down Vermont Yankee in 2012 and supports a single payer health care system.

(Daybell) "So I don’t think the poll results are going to change her mind. I think the only thing that might change her mind is if one of the Democratic candidates goes on to win and goes on to win with a platform that’s really remarkably in contrast to the issues we’ve been talking about over the last two years. But I don’t see that happening."

(Kinzel) Daybell says there’s no question that some of the Democratic candidates enjoy more support among Progressives than others. But he says, in the end, there’s a practical bottom line to consider.

(Daybell) "Looking at the landscape now, the most important thing is to unite and make sure that we give someone the best opportunity to beat Brian Dubie."

(Kinzel) The person who wins the Progressive gubernatorial nomination in the August 24th primary will have several days to decide if they want to stay in the race or endorse the winner of the Democratic race.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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