Progressive Party unveils campaign strategy

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(Host) Vermont’s Progressive Party has unveiled its campaign strategy for the 2006 elections.

The Party won’t run candidates for Governor or Lieutenant Governor – instead it will concentrate its resources on roughly 15 Vermont House races.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) There was a lot of speculation that Anthony Pollina, who has previously run for statewide office, would be a candidate for Lt. Governor in 2006.

Pollina told reporters at a statehouse press conference that he’d like to run this year but he says he has a commitment to help build a milk processing plant in central Vermont and he can’t complete this project and run for statewide office:

(Pollina) “My goal is to put my energy where I believe I can do the most good for Vermonters and right now it is with Dairy Farmers of Vermont and the Vermont Milk Company.”

(Kinzel) Pollina has been named the temporary chairman of the Progressive Party because the current chair, Martha Abbott will be a candidate for state Auditor.

Pollina says Progressives aren’t running a lot of statewide candidates this year because they want to focus on winning more Vermont House races – currently they hold six seats in the House:

(Pollina) “We have made incredible progress in only 6 years. So basically this is a continued step in the right direction to pout our resources where we think we can be the most effective.”

(Kinzel) Pollina’s decision not to run for Lt. Governor means that the election will essentially become a two-person contest.

Burlington Rep. John Tracy and Windsor Senator Matt Dunne are vying for the Democratic nomination – the winner will face incumbent Republican Brian Dubie.

Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis says Pollina’s decision not to run is good news for the Democrats:

(Davis) “That way the winner of the Democratic primary will be able to get into a two-candidate race with incumbent Republican Brian Dubie and not have to worry about Progressives splitting the anti Dubie anti Republican vote with a Democrat.”

(Kinzel) Even in a two person race, Davis says it won’t be easy for a Democrat to defeat Dubie.

(Davis) “There are a lot of people who voted for Brian Dubie for Lt. Governor 2 years ago who also voted for John Kerry for President and Pat Leahy for U.S. senator. So Dubie showed considerable ability to get ticket splitting votes in 2004 and it will be interesting to see whether he can have that success again in 2006.”

(Kinzel) In the fall election, Dubie will be seeking his third term as Lt. Governor.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier

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