Lt. Gov: Corren seeking Dems’ nomination
MONTPELIER — Progressive Dean Corren, who has launched a bid to unseat Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, says he will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination this month.
Corren has already secured public financing for his campaign, which ensures he will have $200,000 to spend on his effort to unseat Scott, who has yet to spend more than $200,000 in his two previous statewide campaigns.
Securing support from the Democratic Party would boost the campaign even more, Corren said.
“I am contacting as many Democrats as I can,” he said. “There’s a focus on the Democratic party; they have a state committee meeting coming up.”
Corren said he has been invited by Dottie Deans, chairwoman of the Vermont Democratic Party, to speak to the state committee at its next meeting July 26. In the meantime, Corren plans to continue reaching out to Democrats across the state to make his case.
“I am going to make a very strong case, I think, to the Democratic Party that I should be their candidate,” he said. “The main thing I’m doing is personally calling as many Democrats as I can ... I’ll certainly be visiting with some personally.”
Democratic Party spokesman Ben Sarle said officials expect Corren to attend the July 26 meeting. There will be no endorsement at that time, however.
The party must wait to see if Corren wins the Democratic primary in August by receiving enough write-in votes. That could be possible since Democrat John Bauer dropped out of the race June 12 after failing to secure public financing.
“There won’t be a vote and he’ll come seek our endorsement after, and if, he gets the Democratic nomination after primary day,” Sarle said. “We will only endorse him if he gets the nomination.”
The party’s bylaws disallow an endorsement any other way, he said.
Corren said he respects the party’s rules. “That’s perfectly fine. That’s a good process,” he said.
Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin offered a surprising early endorsement of Corren late last month in response to a question from a reporter. Shumlin praised Corren’s support of a single payer health care plan in Vermont.
The endorsement from Shumlin, Corren said, should help him attract the support of other Democrats.
“I personally think it’s very big. I personally feel very, very good about getting his endorsement,” Corren said. “I wouldn’t have even thought to ask for it so early. I would have [thought to ask] eventually, and I’m thrilled to get it.”
Shumlin’s support of Corren has spurred some centrist Democrats that support the moderate Scott to rally on the lieutenant governor’s behalf, including Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle.
“After Gov. Shumlin endorsed Dean Corren, the progressive, I received a number of calls from Democrats … who have asked if there’s anything they can do to help me,” Scott said. “Sen. Mazza was one of the first ones that called me.”
Scott said he is not aware of any effort by supporters to organize a write-in campaign on the Democratic primary ballot on his behalf. But, Scott said there is an effort to reach out to Democrats and independents for their support in the general election.
“It’s not to keep Dean Corren from seeking the nomination, it’s more of an effort to get like-minded, moderate or conservative Democrats who have supported me in the past,” Scott said.
“I’m more concerned about the general election and what happens sometimes in the primaries is of little consequence,” he added. “I’m after support, whether it be from Democrats or independents. I realize that there aren’t enough Republicans for me to win an election.”
Scott said he is not sure how significant an endorsement for Corren by the Democratic Party would be.”
Scott added, “Certainly, there are some that will vote for a letter, so to speak, but I think if I can get to enough people and we have discussions and campaign vigorously and people get to know me, I’m confident that I can get enough support to get elected. Does it hurt? Maybe a little.”
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