Independents, 3rd parties spice up election
BRATTLEBORO -- While Republicans and Democrats tend to dominate the election cycle, Windham County typically produces more than a dozen independent and third party candidates seeking public office, and 2010 is no different.
According to the final primary election list, the Liberty Union Party has nine candidates running for a handful of general federal and statewide contests, with five of the hopefuls coming from Windham County.
Peter Diamondstone of Brattleboro is running for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Patrick Leahy as Londonderry’s Jane Newton is seeking the U.S. House Representative position currently held by Democrat Peter Welch.
A founding member of Liberty Union (defined as a nonviolent socialist party), Diamondstone has appeared on the ballot numerous times, including challenging for the governor’s seat in 2008.
Peter’s son, Aaron Diamondstone of Marlboro, is campaigning again for the open county position within the State Senate. Jerry Levy of Brattleboro is also running on the Liberty Union ticket for the state’s auditor of accounts seat.
In addition to the Liberty Union candidates, two independents are seeking countywide seats.
Bellows Falls attorney Christopher Moore is running for one of the two Windham District 4 state representative seats and Brattleboro attorney Gwen Harris hopes to replace Tracy Shriver as the Windham County State’s Attorney.
Two county residents listed as minor party or independent candidates have also entered the crowded gubernatorial campaign to replace Gov. James Douglas, a four-term Republican who is not seeking re-election.
Putney’s Emily Peyton and Westminster resident Ben Mitchell are both listed on the ballot come November.
Peyton, an independent, is running a money-free movement in an effort to make Vermont financially self-sufficient by creating a Bank of Vermont and a Common Good Bank.
Running as a socialist affiliated with Liberty Union, Mitchell proposes socialized energy, publicly-financed elections and a push for a sustainable, local economy.
Finally, Wilmington resident Daniel Freilich, a naval physician and candidate for Vermont’s U.S. Senate seat, has also gone on the ballot as an independent as well as a Democrat in case his bid for the major party nomination against Leahy is unsuccessful.
Early voting began on July 12 for interested residents. Registration deadline for new voters is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18. To view an entire list of major party, minor party and independent candidates, Vermont voters may visit the Secretary of State’s website at www.vermont-elections.org.
Notes from the Trail
-- Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie blasted Democratic hopeful Peter Shumlin’s economic plan earlier this week for not expanding beyond the region.
Dubie, currently Vermont’s lieutenant governor, said the marketing plan Shumlin presented fails to advertise on a global scale, especially when Vermont exported $3.2 billion worth of products (13 percent of the gross state product) last year.
"Shumlin’s plan to turn away from marketing Vermont to the world’s fastest-growing economics and some of our largest trading partners would costs hundreds of jobs in Vermont and millions of dollars of investment in Vermont companies," Dubie said. "As governor, I will continue to travel to new markets to promote [Vermont] products ... Vermont needs a governor who understands how to grow our economy and not depend on the same pro-tax, anti-business, job-killing proposals we’ve seen from Peter Shumlin and the Legislature."
-- Former State Sen. Matt Dunne of Hartland picked up his first newspaper endorsement as a Democratic candidate for governor this week.
The Addison County Independent announced their endorsement of Dunne, highlighting his experience in the private and public sectors as well as his leadership ability.
The editorial reads Dunne is "smart, capable, intuitive, humble, likable, quick, collaborate and he knows these times -- all of the characteristics that the next governor must possess to be successful in this all-too-fluid world. We not only think he can do the job, he’s the candidate to help the state seize the day for the next decade and for our sons’ and daughters’ futures."
-- Secretary of State candidate Jason Gibbs picked up a little help from the Eagle Scouts.
Gibbs, one of two Republicans vying for the seat, is a longtime Eagle Scout himself and a member of the Boy Scouts of America.
Roughly a dozen of his fellow Eagle Scouts announced they were forming a special coalition to assist with the Gibbs campaign, citing his leadership and vision for a revitalized secretary’s office.
"We know Jason well, and we know the values and principles that guide him as a husband, father, Eagle Scout, public servant and candidate for secretary of state," stated Graham Bates, co-chairman of the Eagle Scouts for Gibbs, in a statement. "These are principles we share and we think knowing what guides him is just as important as knowing about the impressive record of real results Jason has delivered as Forest and Parks commissioner."
Candidates in the Community
-- Shumlin, the outgoing Senate President, will speak at the University of Vermont next week at a discussion on current marijuana laws in the state and efforts to decriminalize the substance in the Legislature. Shumlin will speak with former State Rep. Daryl Pillsbury, I-Brattleboro, beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at UVM’s Ira Allen Lecture Hall in Burlington.
-- Jim Condos, a Democrat running for Secretary of State, was at the Exit 3 rotary Friday afternoon, waving to passers-by.
Chris Garofolo is the political reporter for the Reformer. He can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311 ext. 275.
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