by Peter Freyne
"So I do want you to know," said Progressive Party activist Anthony Pollina to 80 Progs attending the annual state convention at Vermont Law School in South Royalton on Saturday, "that I do very much expect and I do very much intend to be a candidate for governor next year.”
The joint went nuts! People jumped out of their seats to cheer.
"But!" shouted Anthony. "But...I started to say 'But," and you got all noisy."
They slowly simmered down, and returned to their seats and Tony the Prog got right to the point:
"There’s a lot of work that we need to do if we’re going to make that happen.
One is, as Progressives, we have to do the work to build an active, inspired political base that will actually bring us a successful campaign...
"We have to reach out and talk to friends who probably don’t know they are Progressives just yet.
"And it also means that we have to work very seriously with our friends in the Democratic Party to especially make sure that they understand the need to build a successful campaign. To understand that this particular race is going to take one candidate people can get behind that can make sure that we replace Jim Douglas with a governor that brings us in a different direction...
"And I think we really need to be clear with these folks that we know that we need each other’s support. That we know that. And that we, in fact, are going to do our best, as we have been doing over the last couple months, to seek and accept the support of our Democratic friends because this election is too important to do otherwise. And that we will use that support from Democrats as well as others to build a campaign that’s strong enough to win but also to build a coalition that’s strong enough to last and to take Vermont in a different direction."
State Rep. Chris Pearson of Burlap, former Prog Party director, experienced on the campaign frontlines in races for Bernie Sanders in 1998 and Anthony in 2000 and 2002, was even more direct:
"Money is king in this game," Chris told them. "You can wish it’s not true, but it is. Inthe major leagues, it’s perhaps the biggest indicator of running aserious race."
Recalling the 2000 gubernatorial race, said Pearson, "We were delighted to have $300,000 to spend. This one is going to require $1 million."
"If we’re going to do this," Pearson [at left] told the party faithful, "we have to demonstrate, and demonstratequickly, that we’re not goofing around. To me, that means raising$100,000 by January 15."
"If we do that," he said, "the media will notice."
And not just the "media" predicted Pearson.
"Any Democrat in the race will take notice," said the former UVM student and Vermont Pub & Brewery employee. "We have an emergency. If we’re going to turn the tide on any of theissues we care about, we really have no choice. Our candidate leads thepack with name recognition, credibility and campaign know-how," said Pearson. "We have to move quickly, though, to demonstrate fundraising power."
Yes, indeed, time to put their money where their mouth is, eh?
Plus, said Rep. Pearson to the Progressive Party faithful, "If we’re serious about winning, we have to consider options like addingan additional party label. Some of you may find that despicable," he said, "and I’m sorry. We’re not going to have thatdebate. We don’t have the time."
Kinda get the feeling, they have until January 15, don't you?
That's the date when the Pollina players need to have 100 grand in the campaign kitty, or else - fuggedaboutit!