Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

« Leahy: Congress Close to Enacting Media Shield Law | Main | This American Chitty Chat — Gabbing with Ira Glass »

September 14, 2009

Will Prog Rep. Dave Zuckerman Become ... a Democrat?

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.

Didn't Clavelle try that?

Oh, and isn't Zuckerman moving to Hinesburg soon? So he will have to run for a different office if he wants to keep his hand in the game.

Zuckerman should run in the Chittenden County Senate race. His voice and vote is needed in the 2011 session as redistricting will be a major issue.

Didn't Clavelle try that?

No, Clavelle did an outright switch and ran as a D. He may have ultimately ended up with the P endorsement but he sure did not handle this as diplomatically as Zuckerman currently is.

Oh, and isn't Zuckerman moving to Hinesburg soon? So he will have to run for a different office if he wants to keep his hand in the game.

So, let's see, you are artificially trying to create an issue when there is no issue. You are either Jake Perkinson, a friend of Representative Ram, or Ed Adrian?

Pretty sure the post made it perfectly clear that he is running for another office so not sure why one would feel compelled to point out that Zuckerman is moving.

Quick addition: Yes, Rep. Zuckerman is moving his home to the Hinesburg farm. But, not for three to five years.

So it's true that Zuckerman will need another office to run for soon because he won't be eligible to run for his seat again in 2012. I'm not sure why that FACT is so upsetting so some people, but I guess it is.

And Zuckerman is different from Clavelle because Clavelle 'switched' parties but Zuckerman isn't switching parties, he's just running in another party's primary ... and that's more 'diplomatic' ?? I guess I still don't see the difference.

But here is my big question: If Zuckerman runs in the Democratic primary and loses, will he run as an independent? Or will he endorse the winner of the primary??

After years of slamming the Democratic Party and arguing that the "spoiler argument" has no merit, I'm astounded that Dave would consider selling out his core principles and belief in the viability of the Progressive movement by running in the Democratic primary... then again, political ambition does lead individuals down strange paths. Best of luck Dave! It'll be an interesting campaign year for sure..

Maybe Dave has learned over the years that Ds and Ps must work together if we both want to defeat Rs. Is that so difficult to understand?

If Donovan is considering a run he needs to disqualify himself and his office in the Flanagan investigation and have it moved to a different county's prosecutor.

Dear Ghost of Jim Douglas Past,

I have never posted an anonymous post or a pseudonym anywhere. As I indicated to Shay last night, I think that it would be great if Dave runs for either Senate or for Gov. Lite. If he wins the democratic primary, I will definitely support him. And as I responded to Shay's inquiry last night, I am not interested in running for his seat.

Ed Adrian
[email protected]

Sorry Ed, I should have put the ;-) in my post because it was just a joke.

"And Zuckerman is different from Clavelle because Clavelle 'switched' parties but Zuckerman isn't switching parties, he's just running in another party's primary ... and that's more 'diplomatic' ?? I guess I still don't see the difference."

Its actually pretty simple. The Dems have asked, strike that, demanded that Progs run in their primary. So Dave and maybe others in the Party are trying to reach out and bridge the gap between the parties by doing what they have asked for. That is being diplomatic (how diplomatic could be argued) . Compare that to what Salmon just did or Clavelle did in 2004. Being opportunistic just to advance ones own political career is anything but diplomatic.

Does that help you understand [email protected]

Sure Jim. There is a difference in the two approaches - but a pretty subtle one - so subtle that I doubt that most voters will get it.

To be honest, I actually like Zuckerman. But I strongly disapprove of how partisan his behavior often is. On the other hand, he is signaling a willingness to reach out here -- so I need to step back and give him credit for that.

The big question remains: "If Zuckerman runs in the Democratic primary and loses, will he run as an independent? Or will he endorse the winner of the primary??"

If he vows to endorse the winner of the primary, regardless of the outcome, I will support his campaign.

If he refuses to take that vow, I won't vote for him.


"I was a Progressive but I am now a Dem in order to run for Governor'

compared to

"I am a Progressive but am honoring the Dems request and will run in their primary"

That's subtle? I'm sorry I have more faith in VT voters than you do if you think they won't get that.

There is a subtle third situation with respect to "if I were to run and lose the primary." That is I would stay out altogether. I have tried to make it clear. If I run and win, I would run as a P/D, if I lose the primary I would not run in the general (as an I, or as a P).

The main direction of my campaign would be around issues that ordinary Vermonters are facing; healthcare, jobs, the agricultural economy, etc. If Vermonters want those issues focused on by the LG, then I may well be the right person for the job. If not, I will have more time to focus on my family and farm.

As a side note...a large aspect of the actual job of being LG is to preside over the Senate. While the rules differ slightly, I have been very active in understanding and using Masons rules (which govern the House), and could step into the role of applying the rules without the steep learning curve that others might have.

The LG does almost nothing, except preside over the state senate when the pro tem is away, and to break a tie vote. Everybody knows that the LG has virtually no influence on policy whatsoever. And with the current 23-7 Dem majority in the senate, there will be no tie votes for the next LG to break. Dubie's been LG for over 7 years, and how many ties has he broken? Can anyone name Dean's accomplishments as LG before 1991? Can anyone name Racine's accomplishments as LG during the Dean Administration? Can anyone name Dubie's influence on policy under Douglas? Can anyone even name the LG before Dean?

The LG's office is seen as a purely political position that is used as a stepping stone in one's political career.

Anybody running for LG is using it to better his or her political career, and that's it.

So let's please be honest, and dispense with the stuff about running for LG to deal with "healthcare, jobs, the agricultural economy, etc."

You are certainly correct in that is how it has been used in the past. One of the changes I would make as LG would be to push on issues. With the "bully pulpit" or "soapbox" of the office there is a great opportunity to go around the state and create momentum for legislation.

Dubie has done some work on renewable energy and has done some symbolic work on agriculture (cows/dry milk to Cuba). But I think a lot more could be done with the office than has been done in the past.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684