(Host) Vermont Democrats were energized this weekend when Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle officially announced his candidacy for governor. About 400 people packed into the Champlain Mill in Clavelle’s hometown of Winooski to hear a speech that evoked the candidate’s roots and laid out themes he will use against Republican Governor Jim Douglas.
Clavelle linked Douglas and his policies to those of President Bush, and promised to do better on issues such as health care, energy policy and affordable housing.
(Clavelle) “The choice for Vermont is very clear. We can let a Republican minority become entrenched in Montpelier or Vermonters can elect a government that truly represents all of us. That is the choice that is before us. That is the debate that will before us for the next nine months.”
(Host) Although Clavelle was raised as a Winooski Democrat, the Burlington mayor has run in the past as a member of the Progressive Party. And Governor Douglas claimed last week that he’ll win over Democrats who are disaffected by Clavelle’s candidacy.
State Republican Party Executive Director James Barnett also charged last week that Clavelle is too far to the left for moderate Democrats. Clavelle responded in an interview after his speech.
(Clavelle) “What that whole discussion is about is deflecting attention from the real issues facing Vermonters and I’m not going to go there. There are enough spokespersons for the Democratic Party that I don’t think they need Jim Douglas and James Barnett speaking on behalf of Democrats. I know that I’ve got strong support from the party regulars. You saw that here today. And I also know I’ll have strong support from some Republicans.”
(Host) Clavelle’s candidacy got a boost last week when former Windham County Senator Peter Shumlin said he wouldn’t run against Clavelle in the gubernatorial primary.