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State's Attorney Donovan Won't Challenge Sorrell In 2014

Attorney General Bill Sorrell, left, and his Democratic primary election opponent T.J. Donovan, shake hands on Wednesday in
Toby Talbot
AP File Photo
Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan shook hands with Attorney General Bill Sorrell shortly after conceding in the 2012 primary election for Attorney General.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan won’t be asking voters for a promotion this year, he said.

After a hard-fought primary campaign in 2012 in which he came within 1,000 votes of beating sitting Attorney General Bill Sorrell, Donovan said he isn’t seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 2014.

“It was a decision that was obviously difficult given how close we came last time,” Donovan said.

A number of factors, both personal and professional, played into his decision not to challenge Sorrell for a second time, he said. Sorrell announced his plans to run for reelection last year.

“Most likely I’m going to run for [reelection for] state’s attorney,” Donovan said, adding that he hasn’t made the decision yet.

Whatever his job title is, Donovan said he wants to play a role in Gov. Peter Shumlin’s push to integrate public health and public safety in battling what he called an “epidemic” of opiate addiction. Shumlin named Donovan in his State of the State speech about the problem; Donovan’s Rapid Intervention Community Court for non-violent drug-related offenses has served as a national model for reducing recidivism and rehabilitating offenders.

“I think what the governor’s talking about is a major issue,” Donovan said. “That’s going to require a lot of work, and if I can play a small part in that, I’d be happy to.”

While Donovan’s political future is far from certain – he hasn’t decided for sure if he’ll even seek to be on the ballot this year – he knows he wants to be involved in refining and spreading the Rapid Intervention Community Court model across the state.

“I’m going to be involved in this discussion in whatever capacity I may be in at the time,” Donovan said.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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