Sunday, February 10, 2008

Green Mountain Campaigning

Last week’s choicest political headline came from the Brattleboro (VT) Reformer: “State’s Vote May Matter After All”. Vermont has long been upstaged by its neighbour, New Hampshire, which stubbornly insists on holding the first primary in the country.

But with the Clinton-Obama fight dragging on, this time Vermonters—along with virtually every state in the union plus a few non-states like Puerto Rico—will have a say. Twenty-three delegates are at stake in the March 4 primary.

Vermont’s choice will be overshadowed by showdowns the same day in delegate-rich Texas and Ohio (not to mention Rhode Island). But there is speculation, according to the Reformer, that the candidates might make a brief stop at the airport in Burlington. Polprint, who just returned from an enjoyable ski trip to southern Vermont, recommends that they stay a bit longer.

The smart money is on Obama, even though all of Vermont’s neighbors—Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire—went for Clinton. According to the Boston Globe, Obama has has far outstripped Clinton in fund-raising in Vermont. Moreover, the state’s only Democratic Senator (Patrick Leahy) and its sole Congressman (Peter Welch) are in the Obama camp.

There is another reason that both Democratic candidates will want to court Vermont. A Vermonter--Howard Dean, the former governor who is now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee—could ultimately decide their fate.

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