Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vermont Political Round-up - 8/21/08

Here in Vermont, our gubenatorial race is heating up. It's a three-way race, with Democrat Gaye Symington and newly-independent Anthony Pollina (formerly of the liberal Progressive Party) challenging incumbent Republican Jim Douglas. As you might expect, the mud-slinging is just hitting high gear.

Governor Douglas and challenger Pollina have taken Symington to task for her recent financial disclosures. Seems that while the candidate was willing to make her finances public, she was not willing to air her husband's finances. Now, I agree that we should expect transparency from candidates for public office, but something about Pollina and Douglas's criticism strikes me wrong. Her husband isn't running for office. Shouldn't he have some kind of privacy? I suppose that if your spouse is running for office you should expect to have your life exposed to the public, but where's the limit?

But Symington isn't the only one with money troubles. A few weeks ago, Pollina dropped the Progressive Party and decided to run as an independent. That's fine. What's not fine is his refusal to return $27,000 in campaign contributions from 34 supporters, a result mandated by Vermont elections law. In Vermont, major-party candidates, those candidates who face primaries, can collect up to $2,000 from each contributor. Minor-party and uaffiliated candidates - independents like Pollina - can only collect $1,000 per contributor because they don't face a primary. Pollina decided to run as an independent, and now refuses to give back some of the money he collected. The State Attorney General is investigating.

As Vermont Daily Briefing puts it, Pollina has "jumped the couch." So much for Vermont's Mr. Campaign Fiance Reform.

Lastly, Republican Karen Kerin is challenging incumbent Democrat William Sorrell in the Vermont Attorney General race. Kerin, of Royalton, comes across as the tough-on-crime candidate, criticizing Sorrell for spending too much time on environmental and other non-criminal matters. So, what are her ideas for enhancing Vermont's criminal justice system. Well, for one, she's all for expanding Vermont's DNA database. By taking DNA from underage rape victims' aborted fetuses.

Not touching that one with a ten foot pole.

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