Vt. AG to face at least one challenger in primary

Jessica M. Karmasek Mar. 22, 2012, 10:40am


MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell will be facing at least one challenger in this year's Democratic primary.

T.J. Donovan, Chittenden County state's attorney, announced his candidacy for attorney general Monday.

Hours later, House Speaker Shap Smith, another Democrat, told the Burlington Free Press he also is considering a run.

That would mean three candidates in the August primary.

According to the newspaper, the winner could end up facing Republican state Sen. Vince Illuzzi, who has expressed interest in challenging Sorrell, in the November general election.

Sorrell hasn't faced what some would consider a serious challenger since being appointed by former Gov. Howard Dean in 1997.

Since then, he has won re-election seven times -- in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

However, some question whether Sorrell has done enough for the state, in terms of dollars.

A number of high-profile losses could cost the attorney general re-election, they argue, including a decision in January by a federal judge to keep the state's only nuclear power plant open past its scheduled March shutdown date.

The owner of the Vermont Yankee plant, New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., had filed a lawsuit against the State for its role in deciding whether the plant could operate after its license expired this month.

In Vermont, both houses of the state Legislature and the governor must approve nuclear licenses.

Sorrell announced last month his office is appealing the federal judge's decision. But Entergy wants the State to pay its attorney fees, valued at more than $4 million.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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