The Deeper Dig: Longshot candidates go for governor

Ethan Sonneborn and Keith Stern

Ethan Sonneborn, left, and Keith Stern have the lowest name recognition in their respective primaries. Photos by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger (Sonneborn) and James M. Patterson/Valley News (Stern)

The Deeper Dig is a weekly podcast from the VTDigger newsroom. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

[T]wo candidates on the ballot in Vermont's gubernatorial primaries have notably nontraditional backgrounds. Keith Stern, who runs a produce market in White River Junction, has little prior political experience. Ethan Sonneborn has less: he's a 14-year-old rising ninth-grader at Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School.

Both are struggling against anonymity. Recent polling data shows that Sonneborn has the lowest name recongition of five Democratic contenders, and Stern is facing well-known incumbent Gov. Phil Scott in the Republican race.

But both say detractors ought to take their campaigns more seriously.

"I'm not mocking the process — I'm running for governor," Sonneborn says. "If my age is really going to stop you from voting for practical progressivism, then I'm sorry I lost your vote."

"I'm strong-willed; I take a stand," Stern says. "We can see Phil Scott had lots of experience, Peter Shumlin had lots of experience. From my point of view, they're both failures as governors."

On this week's podcast, VTDigger's Colin Meyn went to their home turf to quiz both candidates on the issues facing the state — and about why their platforms make them worthy of the governor's office.

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Mike Dougherty

About Mike

Mike Dougherty is a senior editor at VTDigger leading the politics team. He is a DC-area native and studied journalism and music at New York University. Prior to joining VTDigger, Michael spent two years as a program coordinator for the Vermont Humanities Council. Before moving to Vermont in 2015, he spent seven years managing recording operations for the oral history nonprofit StoryCorps, assisted Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas, and contributed to the Brooklyn-based alt-weekly L Magazine.

Email: [email protected]

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