Democratic rivals for attorney general, incumbent Bill Sorrell and contender T.J. Donovan, threw down on their home turf last night in a feisty debate inside Burlington City Hall sponsored by Seven Days and Channel 17 Town Meeting Television.
With the August 28 primary less than two weeks away, Sorrell and Donovan are jockeying hard for pole position — or maybe pol position — in the most competitive campaign of the year.
The candidates sat close together (their elbows were practically touching) and the tension was palpable at times. Donovan, the Chittenden County State's Attorney, stayed on offense the whole night, hammering Sorrell for what he said was a lack of engagement and leadership during his 15 years as attorney general — and for accepting help from a Washington, D.C.-based super PAC. Sorrell vigorously defended his record and got in his own digs, demanding that Donovan stop "distorting" his record.
At times, both candidates shook their heads in disbelief while the other answered a question.
Here are seven highlights (and lowlights) from the evening. You decide which is which.