(HOST) Senate president pro tem, Peter Welch, says he believes Vermont Democrats will have a hard time supporting Congressman Bernie Sanders’ bid to win next year’s U.S. Senate race unless Sanders is willing to back a number of Democratic candidates for statewide office. Sanders has made no secret of his intention to run for the seat being vacated by senator Jim Jeffords.
Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Welch acknowledged that having a strong Democrat in the U.S. Senate race would probably enhance the Republicans chances of winning the seat
(Welch) “It’s really important that the Republicans not win because that’s a vote for Bill Frist. And it’s a vote for George Bush. And I think the Bush policy is very detrimental to Vermont. So a three-way race is going to make it harder for Bernie to win.”
(HOST) Welch says the Democrats would probably be willing to support Sanders as long as Sanders understands that he has some responsibilities to the Democrats.
(Welch) “On the other hand, I think there has to be a serious conversation with Congressman Sanders. He’s but no particular friend of the Democratic Party. And there’s going to be a Congressional race where a democrat is going to be running. There’s going to be a gubernatorial race where a Democrat is going to be running. And there are going to be other races. And if Congressmen, Sanders is going to expect Democratic support, then I think Democrats can fairly ask Congressman Sanders what he’s going to do to support Democrats.”
(HOST) Welch says he’ll announce his own political plans after the Legislature session. It’s believed that he is considering a race for Vermont’s sole congressional seat.