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July 29, 2010

Sorry I Missed You ... Signed, [Candidate]

Photo (15) * Updated *

As August 24 gets closer, no one is likely to be immune from receiving campaign literature in the mail — or dropped on your doorstep, or hung from your doorknob.

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin's campaign made a recent swing through Burlington's Old North End, leaving behind a trail of glossy brochures and hand-signed notes saying, "Sorry I missed you. Hope I can count on your support". Or some variation.

If you look closely at the pictures sent in by a savvy Seven Days reader, you'll notice "Peter" has a few different handwriting styles. Not surprisingly, volunteers and campaign staff sign his John Hancock to the love notes.

Shumlin's not alone, either. All Most of the campaigns do it — so the next time you find a little piece of campaign lit on your doorknob with a "personal" note, it's unlikely the candidate signed it.

I know, shocker, right? Let me tell you about the Tooth Fairy...

That said, in a small state like Vermont, it's not entirely out of the question that candidates sign each and every "Sorry I Missed You" note. Local House districts, city-council elections and, perhaps, State Senate races are likely to have a more one-on-one appeal. Not so when, like Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, you're knocking on 30,000 doors during the summer. When people are more likely outside.

Some of the gubernatorial candidates make an attempt to keep it personal — or at least not fake it.

Paul Tencher, campaign manager for Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, said a volunteer usually signs her notes. "But she also takes cards with her on rides if she has spare time," he said.

Amy Shollenberger, Sen. Doug Racine's campaign manager, said only Racine signs his own name to such cards.* volunteers sign most of Racine's notes

Photo (16)The only candidate who differs in this respect is former State Senator and current Google exec Matt Dunne. According to campaign spokesman Eitan Bencuya, only Dunne is allowed to sign his name to a piece of campaign literature.

"All canvassers for the campaign who choose to write a note on literature they leave behind are only allowed to sign it with their own name. During our initial orientation session for field organizers and volunteers, Matt made it very clear to the staff that no one should be signing his name on cards during canvassing, as it would be inappropriate, inauthentic and just downright deceitful," said Bencuya.

John Bauer, campaign manager for Sen. Susan Bartlett, said only Bartlett signs her missed missives. "If a staffer or volunteer did that, I would be quite angry. If it is signed by Susan, she signed it," he said. "Credibility counts for everything in this campaign."

No word yet on Dubie's campaign lit policies. I'll be sure to update you when I hear. Hey, beats writing about something superficial, such as energy policies or "job creation" plans.

If you look closely at the second picture in this post, you'll see the offending language in Shumlin's brochure that, well, offended Dunne recently.

Last week Dunne asked Shumlin to apologize for claiming he was the only candidate to have ever introduced a single-payer health care bill. In fact, Dunne had signed onto a bill in the early 1990s — one that never left committee.


* Updated at 6:45 a.m.: Doug Racine's campaign manager Amy Shollenberger contacted me after the article was published to inform me that only Racine signs his own name to the cards. Volunteers sign their own names if the leave the cards. She misunderstood my original question.

Makes one wonder why the fakers er, impostors er, candidate clones do not simply write 'Elvis was here' or something along those lines?

Especially given they could probably get more votes that way than doing what amounts to anything from identity theft to forgery, particularly these days.

Or, it is really the volunteers or staffers who are the actual fakes or imposters?

What are these candidates and their campaigns thinking or are they even bothering to do so?

Makes one wonder if one definition for the term politician is "professional liar"?

After reading this report, one also wonders if it is even the real candidate showing up to all those many forums or so-called debates or, are they campaign doubles?

Hmmm, then who was it that got pulled over for speeding a little while back, Peter Shumlin or a campaign double?

Humor er, sarcasm aside, in my opinion, any candidate that allows their campaign volunteers, interns or staff or whomever to continue the practice of forging their signature on their behalf in order to deceive voters from here on out, is not worthy of the office they seek. Period!

Get real for once candidates and, stay that way, or don't even bother wasting our time!

had *meant* to write (third paragraph):


Or, *is it* really the volunteers or staffers ...


Just more evidence of Peter-The-Speeder's/Sign-My-Name Shumlin's complete and total lack of concern for honesty. The guy just doesn't seem to give a rat's a__ about the truth if it doesn't advance his personal agenda.

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