Field to replace Carris gets crowded
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | December 20,2012
As the field widened to at least five, the decision date on nominees to replace Sen. William Carris, D-Rutland, has been set.
Kathy Hall, chairwoman of the Rutland County Democrats, said the party delegates for the county Senate district will meet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 2 in Rutland Regional Medical Center’s Leahy Center.
Delegates from Rutland County towns (except Mount Holly, which was attached to Windsor County in the recent redistricting) will pick up to three names to forward to the governor.
Carris recently announced he would step down for health reasons.
Former Shrewsbury representative Eldred French emerged last week as a likely front-runner, with several prominent Rutland County Democrats voicing their support for him. House Majority Leader Rep. Willem Jewett, D-Ripton, head of the state Democratic caucus, said Wednesday that French had broad support from the caucus, though no formal vote or poll had been taken.
“We want to respect the local process,” he said. “That said, there is very strong support across the state. There’s been a lot of discussion and a lot of emails and a lot of members support him, that’s for sure.”
Jewett said the caucus would likely make some recommendation to the governor following the local nomination process.
“Given the level of support, I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said. “People wanted to go do this and I said ‘let’s wait’.”
Rich Carlson of Mendon and Cheryl Hooker of Rutland have each said they would seek nomination.
Carris said Tuesday that his son, Tracy Carris, who has been active in Poultney and is president of the board of directors for the Chaffee Art Center, was putting himself forward for consideration. The younger Carris did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.
Hall said the only other candidate she had seen gaining much support was Bob Baird of Chittenden, who made an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 2010. Baird did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
“There are a lot of others kind of mentioned by one or two people, but not mentioned as broadly as those have been mentioned,” she said.