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835 posts categorized "Politics"

September 03, 2012

Romney Heads to Vermont for Debate Prep

When President Obama heads to Charlotte, N.C., next week for the Democratic National Convention, former governor Mitt Romney will journey north to the one place the national press won't find him.

Reading, Vt.

With the nation's attention turning to the Democratic confab, Romney plans to hunker down at the Reading home of his former lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, to prepare for this fall's three presidential debates.

Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden confirmed to CNN, the Washington Post and others Saturday that the Republican nominee will be in Vermont Tuesday through Thursday. But Madden did not rule out the possibility that Romney would leave the Green Mountains occasionally to campaign in more battleground-y states, according to Reuters.

Click here to continue reading on Off Message, our new politics and news blog.

August 30, 2012

Super PAC Hits Super PAC for Super PAC-ing

Stannard

Demonstrating an apparent dearth of self-awareness, a Vermont-based "super-PAC" whose creation opened the door for super PACs to operate in Vermont released a statement Thursday decrying the influence of an out-of-state super PAC in Tuesday's primary election — and using the situation to justify its own existence.

Got it? Didn't think so. Let me take you back.

Six weeks ago, a liberal advocacy group called Vermont Priorities announced it was launching Vermont's first home-grown super PAC, allowing it to raise and spend unlimited funds on state elections. Why? Because the folks behind it — Vermont Priorities chairman Bob Stannard (pictured) and the group's consultant, KSE's Todd Bailey — were greatly a-feared that big, bad out-of-state super PACs would get all up in Vermont's otherwise pure elections.

By starting their own, way more awesome super PAC, Stannard and Bailey reasoned, they'd be ready to do battle with Karl Rove and the dreaded Koch brothers when those dudes inevitably came to town. Meanwhile, without all those pesky campaign finance restrictions, Vermont Priorities would able to raise and spend as much as they liked to elect their fellow liberals to office!

Click here to continue reading on Off Message, our new politics blog.

20 Years After Clinton-Gore, a Burlington Artist Reflects On His Iconic T-Shirt Design

Curefortheblues-1While Republicans from around the country gather in Tampa this week, a Burlington designer is looking back on his small but significant contribution to a different presidential campaign.

In the summer of 1992, Doug Dunbebin was a graphic artist living in Beltsville, Md. when he came up with a design and slogan for the Clinton-Gore ticket that would soon catch fire and become one of the iconic images of the 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns.

In June 1992, then-candidate Clinton appeared on the "Arsenio Hall Show" and ripped out a bluesy version of Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" on his tenor saxophone. It was a seminal moment in Clinton's political career — as Hall remarked afterward, "It's good to see a Democrat blow something other than an election" — and earned him new found respect and support among young and minority voters.

Click here to continue reading on Off Message, our new politics blog.

Burlington City Councilor Ed Adrian to Resign

Ed AdrianBurlington City Councilor Ed Adrian (D-Ward 1) is resigning effective September 30. He informed fellow councilors in an email this morning.

Did he do it to spend more time with his family? Adrian tells Seven Days that he's stepping down for a "combination of reasons."

"There's no great revelation there," he says. "I just think the Senate race actually brought some clarity to me and the path I need to choose right now, and it's not one of volunteer political service. It's just the fact that [council service] is a great consumer of time that puts pressure on everything.

"I know that sounds nebulous," he added.

Click here to continue reading on Off Message, our new politics blog.

August 29, 2012

After Primary Cliffhanger, Sorrell Pivots to Republican Opponent

DSC04153After a late-night cliffhanger of a primary, Democratic Attorney General Bill Sorrell on Tuesday launched the next phase of his bid to keep his job: a general election fight against Republican businessman Jack McMullen.

"I do have a tough race and it's going to be so great to not have it be a primary, because there are very real differences between myself and my Republican opponent," Sorrell told a rowdy crowd of Democrats at a party unity rally staged at Burlington's Main Street Landing.

"For one, I'm admitted to the bar and can practice law in the courts of this state and he can't. He's wealthy; I'm not. He thinks we should drop the Vermont Yankee — the Entergy — appeal. There's no way we're going to do that," Sorrell said. "He thinks our food labeling laws are bad for business. I think they're good for consumers, and I'm going to uphold and enforce those laws."

Sorrell's pivot to the general election came just an hour and a half after Democratic challenger T.J. Donovan conceded to Sorrell by phone, admitting that he'd narrowly lost a rare, intra-party fight against the 15-year incumbent.

Click here to continue reading this post on Off Message, our new politics blog.

Results from Vermont's Other Big Primary Match-Ups

The attorney general race is getting most of the attention on the morning after Vermont's 2012 primary, but as Paul Heintz wrote about in his Fair Game column on August 8, there were plenty of other interesting races dotting the state's voting landscape. Here's a roundup of some other notable results:

Governor - Progressive

First, the statewide races: Martha Abbott was the only announced candidate for governor in the Progressive Party primary, and it was expected that she would drop out of the race so as not to siphon away too many left-wing votes from Gov. Peter Shumlin. But some of Shumlin's most vehement detractors mounted a write-in campaign to nominate activist Annette Smith for the Progs.

See the rest of the results — with helpful charts and graphs — on Off Message.

Sorrell Clings to Thin Lead in Attorney General Primary; Race Too Close to Call

TJ and wife

UPDATE, 8/29 at 10:00 a.m.: T.J. Donovan says he'll likely concede the race this morning. For the latest updates, stay tuned to our new politics blog, Off Message.

This story was reported by Paul Heintz, Tyler Machado and Andy Bromage

For weeks, the Democratic contest for attorney general seemed too close — and too unusual — to predict. Tuesday night brought no swift resolution.

At the end of primary night — with 245 of 258 precincts reporting — Attorney General Bill Sorrell held a narrow 619-vote lead over challenger T.J. Donovan, according to the Associated Press. But with more than 40,000 voters casting ballots, neither campaign seemed fully prepared to declare victory — or defeat. 

“This has been a really long six months and I’ve said several times this is more a marathon than a sprint,” Sorrell told a crowd of supporters at Burlington’s Courtyard Marriott after emerging for the first time at 10:15 p.m. “We’ve got about a mile or so more to run, and I’m feeling great.”

SorrellStanding beside a screen projecting the night’s promising but uncertain results, Sorrell said, “We’ve got a while to wait, but that’s okay. Because between being 600 or so votes up and 600 or so votes down, I choose option A.”

Greeting supporters next door at the Burlington Hilton, Donovan told Seven Days that with a dozen precincts left to report, he “owed it to everybody to see what the votes are.”

But Donovan did not sound hopeful he would pull out a win.

"It's gonna be tough," he said, adding that he would be “unlikely” to call for a recount — as a candidate within two percent of a winner is entitled to do  — given the apparent size of Sorrell’s lead. "We've worked hard and I want to see this thing through. Somebody had us down 20 points a week ago.”

The AG's primary was the most expensive for that office in state history and the first competitive race for Vermont's top law enforcement job since Sorrell took office in 1997. Buoyed by $184,000 in super PAC advertising, Sorrell may well have fended off a challenge from an ambitious and well-organized young challenger who relentlessly hammered Sorrell's 15-year record during the five-month campaign.

For the second time in two years, Democrats faced the prospect of converging for a pre-scheduled "unity rally" on Wednesday with no clear winner. And with Republican AG candidate Jack McMullen waiting in the wings, Dems will be anxious to put the primary behind them and get the general election started.

Continue reading "Sorrell Clings to Thin Lead in Attorney General Primary; Race Too Close to Call" »

August 28, 2012

Tonight: Vermont Primary Election Results and Live Chat

250-voteHappy primary day, Vermont! Can you smell the democracy in the air?

Per Seven Days tradition, we'll be running a live blog and chat with our reporters and readers tonight, starting at 6 p.m. and going until...late. Paul Heintz and Andy Bromage will be out in the field, and we invite you to stop by and tell them about the big election day news in your town. I'll be back at 7D headquarters gathering the latest updates. We'll post results of the contentious races, including the big Democratic attorney general race, as we get them. Click here to go to our Vermont primary election page.

Haven't voted yet? Polls close at 7 p.m. tonight. Here's a list of polling places from the Secretary of State's office. If you still haven't decided who to vote for, you're not alone. In the Sorrell vs. Donovan battle, check out Andy Bromage's piece on the race, and take another look at their August 15 debate. Paul Heintz spotlighted some of the other big primary races in his Fair Game column a few weeks ago.

We'll see you tonight at 6 p.m. Until then, let us know how turnout is in your town and what your neighbors are talking about in the comments.

August 24, 2012

Hot Off the Press: Newspapers Back Donovan for AG

TJ endorsement

Updated below: Donovan racks up another newspaper endorsement.

In the closing days of the race for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, newspaper endorsements are steadily trickling in. And, as with endorsements from politicians not named Howard Dean, Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan appears to be cleaning up.

Last Friday the Stowe Reporter and Waterbury Record, which are both owned by Biddle Duke, weighed in — arguing that Donovan has "innovative ideas... and the leadership skills to put those ideas to work." Sorrell, the papers' editorial board wrote, "has appeared distant and remote — at least until he faced a real challenger."

On Wednesday, St. Albans Messenger publisher Emerson Lynn used the "R" word as well to describe the incumbent AG: "Mr. Sorrell's extended tenure has made him more remote, less approachable. He's lost that personal connection that Mr. Donovan would restore." Sorrell's challenger, Lynn wrote, "is capable of communicating at a level that will benefit Vermonters directly. He is one among us and looks at problems at a community level, which is where he lives and works."

Lynn followed up Thursday with another, more pointed editorial — this one arguing that by waging a fight at the U.S. Supreme Court to limit the influence of money in politics and then accepting nearly $200,000 in support from a "super PAC," Sorrell was being a tad inconsistent: "But isn't it hypocritical to argue against the influence of big money in Vermont politics, and then be the beneficiary of such largess without the slightest hint of regret or opposition?"

Continue reading "Hot Off the Press: Newspapers Back Donovan for AG" »

August 23, 2012

Reporters Hyperventilate Over, Then Discount, Poll — After a Call to Eric Davis

ClarkWhen word spread Wednesday afternoon that Castleton State College's new-ish polling center would release fresh results on the bitterly contested Democratic primary race for attorney general, reporters drooled.

At least, I did.

After all, we live in one of the least-polled states in the union, leaving political reporters to simply guess what real people are thinking or, worse yet, to dust off the rolodex and query retired Middlebury College professor Eric Davis — Vermont's Pundit Laureate, as Green Mountain Daily's John Walters endearingly calls him — who will readily provide the latest conventional wisdom.

So when Castleton released the first publicly available poll of the AG's race since May — back when the contest was still in its infancy — reporters surely went straight to Castleton Polling Institute director Rich Clark to seek his insight into what his poll tells — and doesn't tell — us about the state of the race. Right?

Uhhh, not exactly. Their speed-dials seemingly frozen on Eric Davis' number, at least three news outlets went straight to the Oracle of Middlebury to see what he thought about a poll he didn't conduct.

Continue reading "Reporters Hyperventilate Over, Then Discount, Poll — After a Call to Eric Davis" »

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