State Rep. Dave Zuckerman (P-Burlington) is officially mulling a run for higher office ... as a Democrat.
Another politician making the leap à la Tom Salmon? Not exactly.
Zuckerman tells Seven Days he's considering the run for either state senator or lieutenant governor with the hope of winning the primary as a Democrat and then earning the support of the Progressives — that way he'd be on the ballot as a Progressive/Democrat. Zuckerman can earn the dual label if he wins in the Democratic primary and also wins as a write-in in the Progressive primary. Or the Progressives could simply name him as their candidate after the primary — all major parties can fill empty slots on the ballot if no one emerges from the primary a victor.
"I'm talking with people, and in fact I had a sign up at the farmers market this past weekend that read: 'What do you think David Zuckerman should do?' said Zuckerman. So many people were asking him privately that he decided to make it more public. So far, folks have been encouraging.
"I do have to figure out if my farm and family can handle it," said Zuckerman.
This fusion approach is modeled on the successful candidacy of State Sen. Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden). Ashe was a Progressive city councillor who ran in the Democratic primary for state senate in Chittenden County — and won. He then won a seat in the 30-member chamber.
"This is one way that a Progressive can run in the statewide race while removing the three-way conundrum that challenges some voters. If Democratic voters feel that Progressive views are similar to what they see the Democrats' views as, then hopefully this would be met with a warm reception," said Zuckerman. If not, he added, then he'll consider it a lesson learned.
"It would be both an olive branch and a test, and it would leave the decision up to the voters instead of hard-core insiders from either party," said Zuckerman.
Zuckerman was first elected to the House in 1996. He has served as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and is currently a member of the House Ways & Means Committee.
Other possible Democratic candidates include Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan, former House member Tom Costello, State Sen. Ed Flanagan and former Vermont CARES Executive Director Tim Palmer.