Chris Pearson gets a big assist

The Democratic race for six Senate nominations in Chittenden County will be an all-out affair, with two vacancies in a district that tends to automatically re-elect incumbents. But State Rep. Chris Pearson, the Progressive hopeful, just got a big dose of good news.

(Note: Hallenbeck later issued a correction. It’s eight candidates, not seven.)

Yep, Bernie is starting to open his fundraising apparatus to more candidates — which is the best way for him to build a progressive movement.

In a crowded Democratic primary that could get expensive, this makes Pearson a front-runner. Because “expensive” by Vermont standards is “piddling” almost anywhere else.

If Pearson nets anything more than a few thousand bucks, well, he’s a long way toward raising all the money he will need. Needless to say, he’s happy about it. His reaction, via email:

Yesterday I had over 100 people come out to help me launch my campaign. Today I got a surprise endorsement from Bernie and mentioned on his national list. It’s an incredible honor to have the backing of my former boss and someone who is turning millions of Americans onto a progressive message. Getting an endorsement from a mentor means more than I can say.

We are feeling like the campaign is off to a great start.

Pearson is one of nine ten candidates — so far — running for six Democratic slots. Let’s assume the four incumbents will win (Tim Ashe, Phil Baruth, Ginny Lyons, Michael Sirotkin); that leaves two openings for the remaining five six candidates.

Four have notable strengths. Faisal Gill and David Scherr have strong ties to the Democratic Party. Dawn Ellis and Debbie Ingram have made unsuccessful bids for the Senate in the past, and should benefit from lingering name recognition. And if any voters are inclined to support women, they are the choices.(The other candidate, who I originally forgot, is Dr. Louis Meyers, formerly a candidate for lieutenant governor. He’s got no shot.)

As the only identified Progressive in the race, Pearson is poised to benefit from a potential split in the mainstream Democratic vote. The Bernie Seal of Approval means  he should be competitive financially. And the Chittenden County Progs will be united behind him as the guy who can keep David Zuckerman’s Senate seat in Progressive hands.

Long way to go, but looking good.

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