The Burlington Free Press has endorsed TJ Donovan for Vermont Attorney General for the Democratic primary on Aug. 28.
The Free Press is the third newspaper in the state to back Donovan over Sorrell. The Stowe Reporter and the St. Albans Messenger also published editorials endorsing Donovan last week.
The Free Press editorial focuses on the renewed energy 38-year-old Donovan has brought to the campaign. For the previous seven election cycles Sorrell has run for the seat without a serious challenger.
“Donovan’s challenge has forced serious debates about what the attorney general does, priorities for the office, approaches to law enforcement, as well as the incumbent’s record,” the Free Press wrote today. “The debates were long overdue.”
The St. Albans Messenger took a similar tone.
“The fact that there is a competitive primary is unusual,” reads the paper’s Aug. 22 editorial, “which is unfortunate.”
The Free Press, well-known as a crusader for open government, also praised Donovan’s proposed reforms for public access to police investigation records.
“Donovan pledges to push the Legislature to change the status of criminal investigative files so they would be presumed to be open to the public,” the editorial page author wrote. “Donovan pledges to bring a new openness and accountability to investigations of police misconduct.”
While the Free Press uses most of its editorial to shower Donovan with praise, it also notes that Sorrell has run a “spirited” campaign for re-election.
“The question is, where has Sorrell, the engaged campaigner, been all these years?” the Free Press wonders aloud.
The Messenger editorial applauds Donovan’s efforts to address out of control prison costs while Sorrell “presided over that increase.” The Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s office, under Donovan’s direction, developed the Rapid Intervention Community Court program to lower recidivism and keep low-level offenders out of the corrections system.
“Vermonters have learned more about the state’s AG office in the past several months than they have in the last several years combined,” the Messenger said.
The Messenger honed in on Sorrell’s recent losses as a reason for voting for his challenger. They see Sorrell’s decision to argue a case in the U.S. Supreme Court as a mistake. Donovan has promised he would never argue a case before the court.
“It’s not about guts,” the editorial says, “it’s about winning.”
The winner of the primary election will face Republican Jack McMullen in the general election in November.
Read the Free Press editorial: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012308240008