Vermont's seven-term attorney general, Bill Sorrell, is using his campaign time to remind voters that the legacy of his proudest professional achievement lives on.
"The war against big tobacco continues," Sorrell said.
In 1997, a newly-elected Bill Sorrell led the state's fight against big tobacco and won. Fifteen years later, the legal settlement continues to bring $25 million a year into the Green Mountains.
"Eight to ten million dollars of what we receive in Vermont every year, and will receive forever as long as Americans are smoking, is directly attributed to an idea that I had," Sorrell said.
"Of course tobacco is an issue but we're facing new challenges; prescription drugs, elder abuse, a corrections budget that in Bill Sorrell's time has gone up 175 percent," challenger T.J. Donovan said. "The job of the AG has to be more than signing onto a national lawsuit 15 years ago and still saying it's your greatest accomplishment."
T.J. Donovan is currently Chittenden County's state's attorney, but he wants to be AG. He says Sorrell is taking credit for the work of others.
"You don't sue one of the biggest industries in the world four weeks after taking office. The fact of the matter is this lawsuit started three years prior to Bill Sorrell taking office by the state of Mississippi," Donovan said.
And the disagreements don't stop there. The candidates continue to battle over a television advertisement. It supports Sorrell, is narrated by Howard Dean and paid for by the Committee on Fairness and Justice, a super PAC that invested nearly $100,000 in the ad.
"This group has a constitutional right to speak to Vermont voters. And I'm pleased they're speaking the truth about my record," Sorrell said.
Sorrell served as Dean's secretary of administration and they've campaigned together since Sorrell announced he was seeking re-election.
Reporter Jennifer Reading: Has there been any coordination with Howard Dean on this super PAC ad?
Bill Sorrell: Between me and Howard Dean? No, no. I didn't know the ad was going up.
Donovan wants it taken down, claiming it goes against the fabric of Vermont politics.
"Let's not have these out-of-state corporations try to unduly influence this election with $100,000 two weeks to go," Donovan said.
In arguably the toughest race of his career, Sorrell says the ad is legal and independent of his campaign. He won't stop the group from airing the ad 200 times during the primary's final stretch.
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