Molly Gray, the farmgirl from Newbury, has won big endorsements and raised tons of cash - enough reason for better known Democratic lieutenant-governor candidates to target her during ads, debates and social media outreach. It doesn’t hurt that Sen. Patrick Leahy used to sit on his porch with her dad talking about families, futures, and politics.
"She's got a seal of approval from those people, and that's powerful," said Kevin Ellis, a former longtime Vermont lobbyist who supports Gray. "Every one of those people has a Rolodex ... They're on Twitter; they're on the phone; they're raising money for causes. And every time, they're talking politics."
Older Vermonters likely recognize Gray's family name. Her father, Bob, a cross-country skier, competed in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics. Her uncle Bill led Leahy's 1986 senatorial campaign and made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate himself two years later. Leahy later nominated Bill Gray to be a federal judge, but Gray died of cancer in 1994 before he could be confirmed. Eulogizing his nominee on the Senate floor that spring, Leahy recalled sitting on the porch of his Middlesex home with Bill Gray to talk of "our children, of our families, of life."
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