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Vermont Democratic Party Chairman Resigns 

Bernie Sanders

In an email to state committee members this morning, Vermont's Democratic Party Chairman Ian Carleton announced that he will step down tomorrow after a three-year stint in the post.

Carleton, a former Burlington city councilor, will turn the reins over to vice chairwoman Judy Bevans. Bevans will serve as acting chairwoman until either the party holds a special election or November, when the party is required to choose a new leader.

The party is also without an executive director. An exhaustive search undertaken in December yielded nearly 50 resumés and several in-depth interviews. One candidate — the interim executive director Kristina Althoff — withdrew, and another candidate who was offered the job declined it; he had been offered a more lucrative position elsewhere on the same day.

That minor bump at the end of Carleton's tenure aside, he told his fellow Dems that they have accomplished a lot in three years.

"Looking back over the last three years I am struck by the array of changes, accomplishments and milestones this party has experienced," Carleton wrote. 

He ticked off a few:

• For the first time in decades the party undertook, and completed, a comprehensive, multi-phase revision of its bylaws.
• The party tripled its executive committee and added specific positions to represent the party's political spectrum.
• The party expanded and standardized its endorsement policy so Democrats could support candidates of any political persuasion if the circumstances warranted it. This happened with Bernie Sanders during his 2006 bid for U.S. Senate.
• The party hired its first female executive director ever, Jill Krowinski. [Correction: Carleton was mistaken — Krowinski wasn't the party's first female ED.]
• The party expanded its staff and grassroots organizing under the 50-state strategy of Democratic National Committee Chairman Gov. Howard Dean, and in 2008 was able to lend a hand to Barack Obama's victory by assisting with get-out-the-vote efforts in other states.

The party certainly holds court when it comes to Vermont's elective offices. They hold four of Vermont’s six statewide constitutional offices (governor and lt. governor are the two they have failed to nab), along with both U.S. Senators and the state's lone congressman. In the legislature, Democrats control 95 out of the 150 House seats, and 23 out of 30 Senate seats.

"These accomplishments are evidence of a party that is healthy, self-aware, and versatile. Throughout my time as chair we have often discussed how important it is that we as a party reflect the ethics and principles of the society we wish to promote," Carleton wrote. "Over the past three years I think we have taken some important steps towards that goal."

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About The Author

Shay Totten

Shay Totten

Shay Totten wrote "Fair Game," a weekly political column, from April 2008-December 2011.

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