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Saturday, April 23, 2005

VT-Sen: Scramble for Open Seat

Posted by Bob Brigham

On Wednesday, Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords announced he would not seek re-election. The resulting scramble has launched a domino effect throughout Vermont's political world, potentially opening up seats all the way down to the local level. In 72 hours, a lot has changed in Vermont.

Representative Bernie Sanders has moved the fastest. Within the first 24 hours, he ensured that Democrats coalesced around his candidacy which will prevent a viable threat of a three way race. Within 48 hours, Sanders was on the phone with bloggers, locking down the endorsement of Vermont legend, Blogfather Jerome Armstrong. Today, David Sirota (the go-to guy for all things Sanders), has a must read post: Who is Bernie Sanders? When it comes to quick reaction and real-time politics, Sanders is setting the pace.

With Sanders locking down the support of Independents and Democrats, the only question is who will jump in the GOP primary. Much of the action in the GOP primary will occur after a decision by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

Kos says:

There is no one in Vermont as popular as Sanders. And while Bush and Rove pressure Republican Governor Jim Douglas to enter the fray (the only Republican with a hint of a chance), Douglas isn't suicidal. Or stupid.

Political State Report seems to agree:

Jim Douglas will be urged to run but he is very cautious and would have a hard time beating the popular Bernie and so he will not run. I expect Brian Dubie our Republican Lieutenant Governor to run for the senate. He would be the only Republican to have any chance. I think he is too right wing to win. If he does not run, then millionaire Jack McMullen will try again to buy the seat.

David Sirota examines Douglas's liabilities, including his close ties to President Bush (who is hated in Vermont) and his support for Social Security Privatization (which is hated everywhere, but especially so in Vermont).

As I listed before, the subscription only Hotline lists the follow potential GOP candidates:

Aud. Randy Brock
'92 nominee/Gov. Jim Douglas
LG Brian Dubie
Ex-House Speaker Walt Freed
'98 candidate/'04 nominee Jack McMullen
'04 House nominee/ex-USAF pilot Greg Parke
IDX Systems Corp. CEO Richard Tarrant

The Republican Party is justifiably scared shitless of what Congressman Sanders could do to them if he wins. But conventional wisdom already says that the GOP's best case candidate would be facing such intimidating odds that he won't even run.

Senator Bernie Sanders -- it has a nice ring to it.

Posted at 03:13 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati