State News

T.J. Donovan running for attorney general

By Anne Galloway,

Democrat T.J. Donovan will run for Vermont attorney general in the 2016 election, regardless of what incumbent Bill Sorrell decides.

The Chittenden County state’s attorney told Seven Days on Sunday that he has decided to make a second bid for the office held by fellow Democrat Sorrell.

Donovan said Monday that Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision to bow out of the race 18 months before the next election has accelerated the campaign season, and he saw no reason not to tell people he is running.

“I’m running and there’s no reason to keep it a secret,” Donovan said. “There are no secrets in politics, so why not be open and honest about the fact that I’m running for attorney general.”

Donovan, 41, lost to Sorrell, 68, who has held the seat since 1997, by 714 votes in the 2012 primary.

Sorrell coasted to victory in the 2012 general election and was unchallenged in 2014, but he now faces allegations that he violated campaign finance laws.

Brady Toensing, vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party, alleges that Sorrell violated campaign finance laws by coordinating with a super PAC on a $200,000 media blitz that helped him edge out Donovan.

Independent investigator Tom Little is expected to deliver his findings to a panel of state’s attorneys by the end of August.

“I have nothing to hide, and I look forward to responding to each and every one of the allegations,” Sorrell said.

The attorney general “won’t even think about” running for a 10th term until the investigation is over and the report has been released.

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