Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've been arguing for a while now that Gaye Symington, the underdog Democratic challenger to Vermont's Republican governor, Jim Douglas, wasn't doomed to come in second. Now, a new poll offers some additional evidence: She might come in third.
Rasmussen finds that Douglas is at 45% and Symington is at 20%. Independent candidate Anthony Pollina is actually in second at 25%.
I was really surprised when I first saw those numbers, but now I'm just mildly surprised. Pollina, who has had a couple of good showings in past statewide elections (good for a third-party candidate, that is), has been scooping up most of the major labor endorsements in the state.
A lot of moderate Democrats like Douglas. A lot of liberal Democrats like Pollina, who, until earlier this year, was a member of the Progressive Party (he's now not affiliated with any party). Symington, it appears, has been caught without a base of support.
Pollina's strength means that Vermont's unique constitutional provision, requiring the state House of Representatives to pick the governor when no one wins an outright majority, is fairly likely to go into effect. It also means, however, that the provision almost certainly won't matter. If Douglas wins the election by 15-20 points, legislators would have to be politically suicidal to make someone else governor.
Vermont has gubernatorial elections every two years. Maybe for 2010, Democrats will finally give in and nominate Pollina.
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