At least one major-party candidate for statewide office, it would appear, is hoping to lose next Tuesday.
In an Oct. 28 post on his Facebook page, Progressive candidate for treasurer Don Schramm notes that “many of my friends like Beth Pearce.”
Schramm apparently feels the same way.
“I like her too and hope that she stays our State Treasurer,” Schramm writes.
Schramm hasn’t returned our calls yet but, based on some background research, the post looks to be legitimate. So will Schramm and the Progs convene a late-race press conference urging his supporters to get behind the Democratic incumbent?
Don’t count on it.
Morgan Daybell, chairman of the Vermont Progressive Party, said today that his organization gave the Democratic incumbent ample opportunity to pick up the Progressive nomination. He said, however, that she was unwilling to add Schramm’s signature issue – the formation of a state bank – to her platform.
“I know there were a lot of opportunities for Beth to take stands early on about the state bank or a state credit card, and she chose not to,” Daybell said. “Had she been a little more aggressive on some of those issues, this race might look different.”
Pearce campaign manager Ryan Emerson said he wasn’t around for the conversations between his boss and the Progs – Emerson was until the August primary running the campaign of Democratic candidate for attorney general TJ Donovan.
“So I honestly can’t give any background,” Emerson said this afternoon.
But he said Pearce supports having a legislative committee study the idea, and hopes Progressives will reconsider their unwillingness to issue an endorsement of some kind.
“If Don wanted to make a formal endorsement, we would absolutely love to see that,” Emerson said. “This race is incredibly close, and it would be a real shame if Beth didn’t win, and it looks like Don sees that it’s in the state’s best interest that Beth wins.
Daybell and Rep. Chris Pearson, head of the Progressive caucus in the Vermont House, say they don’t think the race isn’t as close as Emerson believes.
“I don’t see Wendy Wilton as having a chance,” Pearson said today.
He bases that assessment in part on a survey by a left-leaning polling firm back in late September that showed a 9-point spread for Pearce.
But Democrats had a poll in the field at about the same time that showed the Pearce and Wilton in a statistical dead heat. That same poll, of 501 likely voters, showed Schramm getting more than 3 percent of the vote.
Eric Davis, professor emeritus of polictical science at Middlebury College, said he doesn’t see Schramm picking up more than 1 or 2 percent of the vote next week. But in a race expected to draw around 300,000 voters, Davis said those 3,000 to 6,000 votes for Schramm might otherwise tip the scales for Pearce.
“If Schramm were to make such an announcement publicly supporting Beth Pearce, it could affect the outcome,” Davis said.
Daybell said that while the party won’t issue any formal voting advisories to its members, “certainly individual Progressives who have the profile to get press can do what they want to do.”
Wilton last year spoke out in derisive terms about single-payer health care, one of Progressives top priorities.
“There have been many Progressives I talk to that actively dislike Wendy Wilton,” Daybell said. “And they especially dislike the huge sums of super PAC money rolling in her.”
In the remainder of his Facebook post, Schramm expresses dismay at his low political profile.
“Still I feel very invisible. No one asks me why I am running as the Progressive Candidate for State Treasurer,” Schramm writes. “If you have problems with my running for this position, I would love to hear from you. If you understand why I am trying to expand the narrow conversation of that campaign and like what I am trying to do, I would like to hear that too. Thanks.”