So far the only thing making this year a lively campaign season in Vermont is the Democratic primary race between incumbent Bill Sorrell and challenger T.J. Donovan for Attorney General. It seems every week we're seeing a new endorsementor position paper from both camps, and the campaign so far has been relatively substantive.
Still, while making his pitch for change, it seems odd that T.J. hasn't made a big deal of his latest policy position, which Jane Lindholm broke on Vermont Edition last week.
As you probably know, Donovan has made prescription drug abuse the centerpiece of his campaign, arguing that the impact of prescription drug abuse on public safety is a mandate to take both criminal and public health approaches to the problem, and to make it a higher priority than garden-variety nonviolent crime.
What was the hidden announcement Thursday? In response to a question late in the interview, Donovan confirmed that he supports decriminaliztion of marijuana. You should really listen to the entire interview, but I'll just give away the surprise and let you know that about 24 minutes into the show, Jane Lindholm specifically asks him "Do you support the decriminalization of marijuana?" and Donovan say, "I do, and here's why . . ."
This seems like a big thing for Donovan, with nothing but positives for the campaign. First, it's going to be a low-turnout election, attracting mostly the core Democratic electorate, which is undoubtedly more liberal than the population at large. Second, with support from the State Troopers Association and the Sheriffs' association, Donovan isn't in danger of being painted as soft on crime. Third, challenging an incumbent means he needs to be aggressive and make big initiatives to gain visibility and distinguish himself from Sorrell. The decriminalization statement is just the kind of thing that should help the campaign.
There's still nothing up on Donovan's web page, and although my e-mail in box is full of his communiques I haven't gotten a decrim e-mail yet, but watch the news to see this story develop.
I think it's Sorrell's turn.