Good Luck Zuck

While existential doubt continues to swirl around Garrett Graff’s proto-candidacy, yet another liberal has stepped into the race for lieutenant governor. So much hankerin’ for Vermont’s very own bucket of warm spit.

This time, it’s David Zuckerman, Dem/Prog State Senator from Chittenden County, confirming what many had expected: he’s in the race. Originally a Progressive, he’s campaigned for Senate on both Prog and Dem tickets, and he plans to enter the Democratic primary.

And in a sign of the Progs’ perilous position, he probably won’t run at all if he can’t get the Dem nom. This is either a high-stakes gamble, or Farmer Dave is tired of the Senate: he’s trading in a sure thing for what looks like a lottery ticket — one entrant in a field that already includes either two or three Democrats, depending on the disposition of Young Graff’s residency issue. And there may be further entrants from the Senate Democratic caucus, although I suspect that when push comes to shove, most (or all) of them will prove unwilling to let go of their comfy Senate perches.

(Really, can you imagine the likes of John Campbell or Dick McCormack entering a race they’d actually have to work hard to win?)

Zuckerman’s candidacy begins with inconvenient questions about fundraising. He says he may pursue public financing — but Seven Days’ Terri Hallenbeck reports that he may already be disqualified from that very restrictive process because of his early announcement. (The rules say no campaigning, period, before February 15. Which is far too late in the unprecedentedly early Vermont campaign season.)

Which leaves him seeking funds from progressive donors, large-P and small, and from his geographic base in Chittenden County. And the very active State Rep. Kesha Ram (and her solid Democratic Party credentials) is already doing her best to occupy that space. Plus, the more men in the primary, the better her chances.

Meanwhile, the stampede has already begun toward that rarest of political blooms, an opening in the Senate’s Chittenden County delegation. Paul Heintz broke the news that David Scherr, a former chair of the Chittenden County Democratic Party, will run for State Senate. Scherr made his announcement “barely an hour after” Zuckerman went public with his Lite-Gov yearnings.

Dollars to donuts, Scherr won’t be the last Democrat in that race. The vast majority of Senate seats are locked up for one party or the other, with entrenched incumbents all around. Chittenden’s six seats are among that number; incumbents virtually never lose.

The county’s current lineup is three Dems, two Dem/Progs, and one Republican. I’m sure the Dems will be anxious to replace Zuckerman with one of their own. Which would be a significant blow to the Progs, who don’t exactly have legislative seats to spare.

Rambling reactions. Anyway, best wishes to Sen. Zuckerman, who’d be an improvement on the current Senate Gavel Cozy and a positive voice on a range of issues. (Except vaccines; he expressed some troublingly denialist beliefs in casting a losing vote to preserve the philosophical exemption.) I think he faces an uphill battle, and the Progs may well end up losing a Senate post without gaining the lieutenant governorship.

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