Heads up, my friends — the race for Vermont Lieutenant Governor just got interesting.
Way interesting: in addition to empty-suit Republican incumbant Brian Dubie, and perennial Progressive Anthony Pollina, Hartland Democrat Matt Dunne has just entered the race. Official kick-off down the road, but the unofficial e-announcement went out this morning.
“Good morning. As winter arrives in our beautiful state, I am delighted to announce my intention to run for Lt. Governor.
“Many of you have strongly encouraged me to pursue this office. At this early stage of the campaign season, I am delighted to have so many legislators endorsing my campaign.
“During more than 10 years in the legislature, first as the representative of my home district of Hartland and West Windsor and then as a Senator from Windsor County, my most satisfying work has been convening diverse groups of Vermonters to identify opportunities that can move our state forward or solve problems. My role has been to take Vermonter’s ideas, translate them into legislation and then use my experience in the legislature to translate them into law.
“Using this approach, I have successfully sponsored legislation on a wide variety of issues ranging from hiring preferences for veterans to creating the Vermont Film Commission, from improving healthcare information to a grant program for small schools. I’ve helped strengthen workers’ rights and sponsored programs to turn polluted brownfields into thriving locations for jobs and community activities. Vermonters have been the source of each of these ideas. Those of you who have worked with me in business, in the fight against poverty, in training the next generation of civic leaders, or as a legislator, know that I work hard at everything I do. I promise you that I will bring that same commitment to serving you as your Lt. Governor.
“Most of you know that I’ve always run hard fought, grassroots campaigns. I’ll campaign tirelessly in this election.”
A couple of things to point out here.
First, the last sentence I quoted is far and away the most important: Dunne campaigns like a house on fire, and when he says he’ll be “tireless” that’s no bit of boilerplate. He won his first race at 22 — in a traditionally GOP district — because he typically measures his door-knocking in the thousands.
He can close, Dunne can.
Granted, statewide races don’t hinge as directly on doorstop conversations, but the metaphor translates: Dunne will work retail politics as hard as they can be worked, and in Vermont, that’s the ball game.
Why is this so very key in this particular race?
Well, Dubie snuck over the 50% margin last time out only because he faced a kind-hearted Democrat with negligible stump skills — and Progressive Steve Hingtgen, a little-known quantity who managed about 7%.
So throw a lean, very hungry Democrat in this race, with broad institutional support, and I think Dubie begins to look more and more like lunch.
Second, Dunne is the leading curl of the Next Wave in Vermont politics. Two or three times in the last handful of years, he has indicated an interest in statewide office; two or three times the older generation of politicians above him on the ladder have asked him to be patient. This is nothing new; older always holds back younger, until younger is no longer willing to take no for an answer.
And of course once the door is open, it doesn’t close again. So even as we speak, Dunne is out knocking on a door, and whatever else you might want to bet on in this race, you can make bet he’s not going to stop. And then behind Dunne will come a whole slew of thirty- and forty-somethings whose time is now offically here.
Why “officially” here? Click the link Dunne includes to legislators endorsing him. That’s a lot of hard-core political proboscises all picking up the same scent.
Check out Dunne’s website and get the early read on him for yourself. Or Time magazine — if you want to see how the words “Democrat” and “entrepreneur” fit together these days.
Let’s strip it down: Does Brian Dubie need ousting from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office? Check out this post from a few days back. Am I happy then that a Center-Left Democrat is in the hunt?
Oh baby yeah.