Pollina runs as an independent, Vermont Progressives react

Presumptive Vermont Progressive Party gubernatorial nominee Anthony Pollina announced last week that he would seek election not as the candidate of his party, but rather as an independent. As the Burlington Free Press put it, Pollina is hoping the change in labels will help him reach out to voters who simply can’t stomach what’s often considered the country’s currently most successful third party:

“Some people feel that the party label gets in the way,” Pollina said. “I sat in the home of a well-known Democrat who said, ‘I support you’ but said, ‘My friends are wondering how to support a Progressive.’”

Pollina contends that by running as an independent, he will be able to draw in those people. Mostly, he’s talking about Democrats, said Progressive Party Executive Director Martha Abbott, who sat beside Pollina as he announced his switch Monday. There has been so much tension between the Democratic and Progressive parties through the years that some Democrats feel squeamish about writing a check, posting a lawn sign or campaigning for Pollina, she said.

In a press release announcing the decision, Pollina describes a broad coalition that includes more than 450 Democrats for Pollina as well as Republican supporters, and stresses that the move “in no way compromises my priorities, principles or positions on the issues.” A video that appears loosely based on the release here follows, prominently displaying both Democrats and Progressives present the day of the announcement:

The Burlington Free Press article includes quotes from several leading VPP members who seem unanimous in their continued support of Pollina’s candidacy, even if response to the move itself was mixed. The party’s official blog published an article today addressing those might have considered such a development a death-blow, noting that the party has heard such post-mortem’s in the past:

The last obit I remember was around the 2006 mayoral race in Burlington. Everyone and their brother lined up behind Democrat Hinda Miller, and fair enough. Hinda is a successful business women, she is well connected and at that time had money in the bank and staff on the ground starting in September. Nobody thought the January entrance of Rep. Bob Kiss would cause much of a stir.

Before that, there was the Clavelle defection. This prompted a good-bye piece from the Rutland Herald that proved…um, totally wrong. Yes Clavelle ran for governor as an Democrat. And yes, he did miserably. But that year we doubled our seats in the VT House and grew to include four new counties.

So before you go getting too discouraged about our little political experiment. And before you conclude the Pollina switch means the end, take a deep breath and remember what we stand for. The media and punditry class represents many of the same powers that the Progressive Party opposes. They would like nothing better than to have us evaporate.

6 thoughts on “Pollina runs as an independent, Vermont Progressives react

  1. Deran

    Wow, that is harsh. Bad news. Sucking up to the Democrats. Why not just run as one then (that’ll be his next switch)? He’ll be a another Bernie Saunders; a Democrat in everything but name. Saunders also started out as an independent, now that he’s in the Senate he’s a Democrat in his votes and allegiances.

    I bet the Democrats brought him.

  2. Deran

    Also — I hope the Progressives run a candidate to make sure Pollina can’t win. That should be the end of his career.

  3. Trent Hill

    Labels are pointless Deran. What the INDIVIDUAL accomplishes is the important part.

  4. Mike Gillis

    I’m not ready to toss Pollina under the bus the way that Deran is.

    If he was a good candidate as a Progressive, he’d be just as good as an independent.

    He’s clearly running all out and challenging the Democratic and Republican parties as an equal and not running a spineless “David Cobb” style campaign, so more power to him.

    I’ll wait for him to actually cave to the Dems like Sanders before just making an any accusations about his motives.

  5. Deran

    I guess my sense of this sort of change of heart, is that it does not build independent political parties. I completely support independent candidates. But; Pollina has been, allegedly, very active in building the VT PP as a meaningful political force. But, when he get’s a whiff of potential power, he goes with that instead of leveraging his campaign, and possible governorship, into building the PP. Even nationally. Instead, it becomes much more about him, and does he, on his own, really have the juice to get elected?

  6. donald raymond lake

    A little recent of the Bull Moose Vermont Progressives. Tony collected over 25% of the popular vote as Lt Governor!

    Before the state Democrat chair dropped into the two person race, it was Polina verses an unpopular GOP incumbent. I repeatedly told him and his staff to go the Lt. Governor route, warning, time and time of a Dem back stabbing.

    I do wish Tony the best, vote wise. I am sadden, but do not begrudge, as an out state cheer leader, his Naderisk ‘Independent’ route.

    I do want my box of blue Bull Moose tee shirts back how ever!

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