Howard Dean lovers may have experienced a brief surge of hope this morning at Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords' surprise announcement that he will retire at the end of his term in 2006. They may have had visions of the erstwhile governor and former presidential candidate stepping forth and scaring the bejesus out of timid Democrats on the Senate floor.
Any such fantasies were cut short when Dean issued a statement shortly after Jeffords' announcement, saying he wasn't interested in running because he had his hands full as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Dean has also ruled out a presidential bid in 2008.
All eyes are now on Vermont's sole congressman, Bernie Sanders, an Independent, who is very popular with the hometown folks and has already stated his intention to campaign for the Senate seat. Vermont's Republican governor, James Douglas, failed to win his campaign for Senator in 1992; if he tries again in 2006, both the governor's office and the state's congressional seat could be up for grabs. Let the games begin.