The most likely gubernatorial contenders have all made the same calculation: get in early, or get left out. It’s still 14 months until Decision 2016, but the field grew to five today with the entry of soon-to-be-former Transportation Secretary Sue Minter.
‘Bout time we got a woman in the running, I say. And I don’t mind declaring that, if all else is equal, I’d have a preference for Minter due to the simple fact that women have been woefully absent from the top tiers of Vermont politics.
“If all else is equal” is a huge qualifier, but so far I see the Democrats having three strong candidates of roughly equivalent abilities. If I had to vote today, based on the little that I know now, I’d probably vote for Minter.
Fortunately, I don’t have to vote today.
There’s plenty of time to see how things shake out, how the candidates perform under the spotlight, and what plans they will put forward.
Minter had to jump in now, because Matt Dunne is proving very attractive to donors and Shap Smith has the bulk of the Democratic Legislative caucus in his corner. (Smith is also moving aggressively to establish a policy profile of his own, with his endorsements of paid sick leave and marijuana legalization.) She’s already got some ground to make up, and lots of time to do it.
I’m excited. This is a very strong lineup. Each candidate has outstanding qualities. Any one of them is fully capable of giving Phil Scott a run for his money (assuming that Bruce Lisman’s wallet can’t drag his carcass across the VTGOP finish line).
And Scott will be the Republicans’ best ticket-topper since 2008. It should be a good race. As far as I can tell at this stage, the campaign should be positive and issue-oriented; it’s hard to imagine any of the Big Four running a mudslinging operation.
I sure hope it’s a good race. God knows it’s going to be a looooooong one.