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August 25, 2010

Dem Guv Race Still Too Close to Call (UPDATE: Shumlin Claims Victory)

**** UPDATE 2 1:05 p.m. : The AP now has all precincts in, with Peter Shumlin winning by 190 votes over Doug Racine.

**** UPDATE 12:22 p.m. : VPR has Peter Shumlin winning the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Shumlin is claiming victory, according the the AP. 


Looks like there's still no winner declared in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, as far as I can tell. Here's the last update from the Times Argus at 1:37 a.m., when Shumlin is leading Racine by 84 votes, with 234 of 260 precincts counted.

We did get some results:

  • Doug Hoffer bested Ed Flanagan in the Democratic auditor's race.
  • Republican Phil Scott and Democrat Steve Howard will face off in the lt. guv race.
  • Paul Beaudry will face off against Rep. Peter Welch in November.
  • Senator Leahy cruised to victory against cow-rider Daniel Freilich.
  • The Free Press has a round-up of Chittenden County state senate results.
  • The AP posts their most up-to-date town-by-town results on this page.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our live blog last night! That was fun.

More info as we have it...

Thank you, 7DVT, for the efforts you all put in last night on your live blog. I have to admit: It was pretty addictive to watch the unfolding events and the positive contributions from most of the folks.

Yet, behind the horse race stuff, some profound issues hover over our state, nation and world. Having spent some time in the political realm as a staffer, I am truly chagrined that most of the effort is put into messaging, spin and impression management. Eventually, we have to solve problems, truly vexatious ones.

Three statewide candidates truly impressed me:

-- I like Doug Racine's seriousness. Unfortunately, that often is a net minus in the current political milieu. I would have confidence in how he would act in office;

-- I still don't know much about Phil Scott, but I saw him in a few settings. The guy works hard, and I think he has a practical approach. Hopefully, he won't get contaminated by the hard-right predisposition of the VT GOP; and

-- I have listened to Doug Hoffer, and I like his emphasis on substance. Yet, I have never sensed that he has a sense of humor, which is a leavening ingredient for most pols.

I don't know if humor is something people want in an Auditor. I can see it as needed for all the other positions, but who really wants to have their accountant start making IRS jokes? Plus, he's had the benefit of Shay ripping on Ed and Tom for months now.

"who really wants to have their accountant start making IRS jokes?"

He's not an accountant. That's one of many strikes against him. Salmon's a CPA, Hoffer apparently has some type of law degree that he's never used. He has nothing resembling accounting credentials.

It's not that he's humorless, it's that he comes off as angry, defensive and a bit out of control when challenged on his "tax the evil rich" agenda, to the point of being kind of disturbing. He's left a mountain of material strewn all over the internet the last few years. I guess we'll see if people are OK with that.

Salmon has been the only candidate to bring relevant issues into the campaign.

Salmon made significant errors in his campaign finance reports. If he can't file these forms properly, how can he conduct an audit.

Salmon lists an audit of the Vermont Yankee Decomissioning Fund among his accomplisments ... but the audit has not been completed (even though he said that he'd do it 2 years ago ...)

He doesn't smile a lot. He's a serious guy. But unlike Salmon, he's never told a journalist to "Fu*k off". On balance, I'd say that Doug is much more personable.

Sorry, first sentence should read, "HOFFER is the only candidate to bring relevant issues to the campaign."

"(Hoffer) has been the only candidate to bring relevant issues into the campaign."

Au contraire, mon frere. He's basing his entire campaign around total non-issues - his slogan is "restore integrity," but all he can come up with to demonstrate that Salmon has no integrity is that Salmon borrowed an office video camera and that he sent an email from an office account.

"But unlike Salmon, he's never told a journalist to "Fu*k off"."

There's nothing wrong with telling someone to fuck off when they're badgering you over a meaningless issue. On the other hand, Hoffer's tendency to completely fly off the handle on message boards when challenged, even in completely non-confrontational ways, is downright unsettling. Unfortunately, not even the Progs can invent a "Google eraser."

IMO, telling a reporter to "Fu*k off" is the definition of flying off the handle when challenged. Salmon might be prickly. But Salmon is unhinged.

And Salmon didn't "borrow" a camera. He used taxpayer money to purchase a camera that was then used strictly for campaign purposes. And he used a state employee to film his speaches which he admitted were taped strictly for re-election purposes.

Salmon lied about completing the audit of the VT Yankee Decommissioning fund.

Salmon gave raises to his staff when every other department in government was laying people off and reducing salaries.

Salmon was the only elected official to refuse a pay cut when the budget crisis hit.

Salmon can't even fill out campaign finance reports properly.

Salmon deserves to be voted out.

If a reporter with an obvious agenda were badgering me and wasting my time (ie. taxpayer dollars), I'd tell them to fuck off too. I think most people with any balls would. This isn't troubling to the average person. You obviously haven't read much in the way of Hoffer's online exploits if you just think he's "prickly."

"Salmon lied about completing the audit of the VT Yankee Decommissioning fund"

Citation? I don't think even Hoffer claims this.

"Salmon was the only elected official to refuse a pay cut when the budget crisis hit."

Yeah, he contributed the 5% that would have been cut to charity instead. Then last year he voluntarily took *more* than that 5% pay cut. What a horrible person.

His office bought the camera, his office owns it, and he reimbursed the state for the cost of using it when he did. Other state offices own video cameras too - they use them to tape meetings etc., as does the auditor's office. What a scandal.

We'll see what happens. Flanagan didn't do a thing to campaign against Hoffer, and as a result the average voter knows nothing about him other than what he's said about himself. I think that's about to change.

Anyone who has watched Tom Salmon in action sees a guy who always seems on the verge of falling completely apart.

When he speaks to the media (in appearances in Montpelier, not emails to Shay), his demeanor and substance strikes people who see him as nearly coming unhinged. He will go on and on at length and combatively on a subject without provocation, turning what should be a routine answer to a question into a lengthy rant. It makes (apolitical) observers cringe in discomfort.

If you want an insight into the way he behaves, go back and listen to the VPR interview he did right after his DUI arrest. His verbal machinations to avoid any personal responsibility are astounding. His egotistic pronouncements were embarrassing.

The guy is a mess.

So what'll happen to the exclusionary AARP debate ( if they've yet to declare a winner by tomorrow night?

"Nearly three years ago State Auditor Tom Salmon told lawmakers that he would do a thorough review of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant’s decommissioning fund. That report never materialized."

"On his re-election website,, he lists “monitoring and management” of Vermont Yankee's decommissioning fund as one of his accomplishments."

I was incorrect in saying that Salmon "lied" about having completed the audit.

It is accurate to say that after 3 years, Salmon still hasn't completed a job that he promised to do -- and his claims to have "monitored" the fund are without foundation.

"His verbal machinations to avoid any personal responsibility are astounding."

Apparently you don't understand that that interview is on the web, and that anyone can listen to it and see that your characterization is utterly fictitious. He took full responsibility for blowing a .086, .006 over the limit, over and over throughout the interview. He did so very calmly, and only repeated himself when the interviewer repeated the same questions. Contrast this to Hoffer's VPR call-in from a couple of months ago, when the panelists were clearly exasperated with his whining, and the moderator ultimately cut him off.

Hopefully some journalist will have the guts to ask Hoffer if he's sure he's never gotten behind the wheel with a .086 BAC, that will put this idiotic issue in the rear view mirror.

"It is accurate to say that after 3 years, Salmon still hasn't completed a job that he promised to do -- and his claims to have "monitored" the fund are without foundation."

Not to belabor what is ultimately a non-issue, but Salmon has completed the report - his office made it clear that it's out for comment - and you have no idea what he has done to monitor the fund. If this is the best that you and Hoffer can do, he's toast.

SCOMBER: I talked to David Reville from the AARP about that yesterday. He said if there's a recount, the debate will be postponed, and a makeup date would depend on how long the recount takes.

So what if Hoffer and Salmon are buttholes? I don't like Salmon, he's like a fish out of water in media relations and switching parties is one of the stupidest things you can do when otherwise all that you have is bad publicity in the media. Hoffer might rant, but they (Hoffer and Salmon), just like all of us, are buttholes from time to time, unless you want to exclude pious figures like Jesus and the Buddha. Vote whoever you want to in my opinion. Maybe I'll just write-in a candidate.

"you have no idea what he has done to monitor the fund."

That's the problem. Salmon claims to have done some work but 3 years on, he's yet to release any information on the subject.

If he did the work, let's see it already.

"If he did the work, let's see it already."

Does the completed draft report contain this information? If not, is there a specific work product on this issue that was supposed to be made public that wasn't, or doesn't exist?

Of course the answer is that you have no idea. You're inventing problems that don't exist in the absence of real ones.

He promised an audit 3 years ago. Where is it? Nobody outside of the auditor's office has seen it.

If policy makers have not seen it, it's not doing anyone any good.

Salmon is boasting about his oversight and there is no available evidence that he has done any.

But if you think that Salmon has done a good job, that's fine.

I'm confident that most Vermonters will see it my way. We'll see in November.

The auditor race could be as entertaining as the race for governor. Two number guys, both assholes, duking it out.

"Nobody outside of the auditor's office has seen it."

Do you know who it's been distributed to? Of course you don't.

"there is no available evidence that he has done any."

Is there supposed to be? You don't know. Quit while you're behind.

"Two number guys..."

One trained and certified number guy, one self-professed.

Salmon admits that he's released no audit of the VY fund. He's promised to do it in the future.

It's been 3 years. He has not completed the work. He admits it.


"He has not completed the work. He admits it."

Actually he has completed the work. It's out for comment. His office will append the comments and distribute the report. There's nothing more for him to do. That's how these things work.

New post up about the "unity" rally:

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