Add another contested race to the Aug. 28 primary.
A coalition of Vermonters opposed to ridge-top wind development is mounting a write-in campaign in the Progressive gubernatorial primary on behalf of one of their own.
Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, is among the more prominent figures in the anti-big-wind movement, and her fellow activists want her the November ballot.
Smith this afternoon denied any direct knowledge of the write-in campaign and said she wasn’t interested in talking politics.
“I’m doing my work, Vermonters for a Clean Environment work, and that’s what I have the capacity to talk about,” Smith said.
Pressed, she said she was aware that others might be working to make her the Progressive Party’s nominee.
“I know there’s an effort going on,” Smith said. “There are a lot of people who are upset and who are very, very unhappy with the status quo.”
Upset enough to set up a website – http://annettesmithforvermontgov.blogspot.com/ – that beseeches like-minded voters to write-in Smith’s name in two weeks.
Peggy Sapphire, a Craftsbury resident opposed to what she calls “corporate” wind, said the effort came together after fellow activists decided they needed a foil to Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is generally viewed by the movement as a friend of corporate wind interests.
“We do feel that we need to offer an alternative,” Sapphire said this afternoon. “We’re certainly not expecting she’ll win, however we cannot bring ourselves to vote for Shumin, and neither do we want to vote for Mr. Brock. And this is a way of gathering our numbers and making a statement at a time when people will pay attention.”
Morgan Daybell, executive director of the Vermont Progressive Party, said he learned of the write-in campaign on Tuesday morning. Perennial Progressive Party nominee Martha Abbott will appear on primary ballots as the gubernatorial nominee, and Daybell said she was endorsed by the party at its state committee meeting on Sunday.
Daybell said news of the write-in campaign came as a surprise, “but I wouldn’t say it’s unwelcome.”
“I think it’s good to have a contest in a primary,” Daybell said.
He said he didn’t know much about Smith or her political views.