Windham thrills

The Windham County race for two state senate seats, if not thrilling, is at least lively this year. Four Democrats are running for two seats and there are two Liberty Union candidates but no Republicans stepped up to run.

One of the two seats is open due to Senator Peter Galbraith’s surprise announcement that he was leaving the senate. Galbraith left, he said, to take up private diplomatic peace efforts in support of Kurdistan where in the past he had interests in the local oil industry. The other Windham county seat is held by Jeannette White.

This week saw almost back-to-back endorsements from statewide players. Senate majority leader Philip Baruth made his dream team endorsement. And Vision to Action Vermont (V2AVT), the newest non-profit centrist PAC in what seems to a Vermont growth industry, made theirs.

Senator Baruth gave his enthusiastic approval to both Becca Balint and incumbent state senator Jeannette White.

Baruth further emphasized the need for a strong coalition from the County, stating: I think Jeanette and Becca complement one another beautifully. They will be a Democratic dream team for Windham County, and I fully plan to be the first to cross the floor to shake Becca’s hand when she’s sworn in come January.

With his senatorial endorsement in the Windham race it is worth noting that Baruth has remained remrkably quiet regarding the Lt. governor's race. In July he suggested the race between Republican Scott and Progressive Dean Corren,who is seeking democratic support, required more study.

And then there is Joan Bowman ,a health care navigator for Vermont Health connect at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. She has focused her campaign around single payer. Although that issue is top of the list for most Democrats,her candidacy has attracted little attention and no public endorsements by the movers and shakers in the Senate.

One of the endorsed candidates former Republican, now running as a Democrat, Roger Albee received his from the policy PAC called Vision to Action Vermont (V2AVT). V2AVT was co-founded by Republican Rep. Heidi Schuerman who flirted with running for governor and former Rep. Paul Ralston (D). Both worked together on economic development issues in the Vermont House. Guess it’s like Lisman’s C for VT but less well funded. This appears to be V2AVT’s first official affirmation coming on the heels of its formation. If elected to the senate, I’d guess Albee, the former Jim Douglas Republican, may mesh well policy-wise with the three-man VIP Democratic support club for Lt. Gov. Scott's continuing re-election. Update: Turns out V2AVT also endorsed Becca Balint in a press release dated  August 18th. I found it on Vtdigger.com but can't find on the V2AVT webpage.

Even while exiting the stage, Senator Galbraith has managed to cast his shadow over this race. He anointed Albee as his assigned replacement early on, going so far as to accompany him while gathering the signatures to enter the race. Later he moderated a candidates’ debate. Senators Baruth and incumbent White were clearly not in Albee's entourage: both tangled spectacularly in the senate with Galbraith.

Windham County! Where big senatorial shadows are cast, endorsements are made and tiny centrist PACs can make their debut performance.

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