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Racine Seeks Progressive Support in Gubernatorial Bid

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With the legislative session now behind him, Chittenden County Democratic Senator Doug Racine is hitting the road to raise money and garner support in his run for governor.

On Saturday, Racine will break bread with the Progressive Party's State Committee at its quarterly meeting. That confab will be at the Old Labor Hall in Barre at 10 a.m.

"I reached out to them," said Racine, who met twice with Anthony Pollina, the Progressives' 2008 candidate for governor (before he dropped the party moniker and ran as an independent). Pollina also ran under the Progressive banner for governor in 2000 and lieutenant governor in 2002.

"I told them I wanted to check in with him and asked for his support," Racine said of his two meetings with Pollina. "He didn't say no. And, he said the next step was to talk with the state committee. In talks with other Progressives, they've told me they are willing to consider the person, not just the party."

Perhaps, after all, Progs & Dems can "get along" eh?

How the Progs are treating Racine is in contrast to how some state Democrats reacted to Pollina when he sought their support as early as late 2007. At the time, the Democrats didn't have a candidate, and were cool to Pollina seeking the nomination. Pollina, too, seemed cool to the idea of running in their party's primary (which was one option floated) and was seeking an endorsement in the way Democrats endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2006 election.

But, that was 2008... when Democrats didn't have an official gubernatorial candidate until April 2008.

Things are different this time.

Racine was the first Democrat to officially announce his 2010 candidacy for governor, just days before the start of the legislative session in January. Within weeks, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz hired a staff person and began raising money for her own possible gubernatorial run.

To date, Markowitz has not asked to meet with the Progressives, said Morgan Daybell, the party's executive director. In 2008, Nate Freemen, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, and Karen Karin, a Republican candidate for attorney general, met with Progressives to seek the party's support.

Markowitz has been reaching out to many Democrats around the state, including labor groups, and has been raising plenty of money. She also launched a website yesterday to help businesses get started as part of a job creation plan.

Two other state senators — Sen. Susan Bartlett (D-Lamoille) and President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin (D-Windham) — are also in the mix. Bartlett says she is a definite candidate, while Shumlin is thinking about it. He may also be thinking of another run for Lt. Governor.

Following Racine's presentation, the committee will receive legislative updates fromReps. Sandy Haas (Rochester), Susan Davis, and Sarah Edwards (Brattleboro), and Sen. Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden). The committee will also vote on changes to the party's platform, and lay out strategies for falltown organizing.

A three-term lieutenant governor, Racine lost to Republican Jim Douglasin 2002 by a 45-42 margin. Con Hogan netted 10 percent of the vote thatyear. It was Douglas' first gubernatorial win and no Democrat has comeas close as Racine since. 

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