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52 posts categorized "Election 2012" Feed

July 27, 2012

Adrian Drops Out of Chittenden County Senate Race

Local-adrian2With just a month to go before the Democratic primary, Burlington City Councilor Ed Adrian said Friday he's dropping his bid to represent Chittenden County in the state senate.

"I had too many balls in the air at the same time and I wanted to make sure I didn't drop one, so I guess last in, first out," Adrian says. "As things have sort of accelerated and other obligations have accelerated, it became apparent to me that I wouldn't be able to give it 100 percent."

Because primary ballots have already been printed and distributed to town and city clerks, Adrian says, his name will still appear on the ballot — though he says he would decline the Democratic nomination if he were to win it.

One of nine Democrats and 17 candidates total seeking to fill six seats in the Chittenden County delegation, Adrian was one of the first challengers to float his name as a contender back in March. With four incumbent Democrats seeking reelection, Adrian was principally competing with four other Democratic challengers for the remaining two slots on the party's ballot: Williston selectboard member Debbie Ingram, former state representative Peter Hunt of Essex, dog walker and filmmaker Loyal Ploof of Burlington and former state representative David Zuckerman of Hinesburg.

Adrian, who recently reported raising $6052 for his campaign, says he's confident he had "a good shot at winning" had he stayed in the race, but made the decision to drop out because he was overstretched. While he says he was aware when he entered the race that it would take a lot of time, he didn't realize "how it was going to be received at home."

"Sometimes you don't quite grasp the entire situation until you're in it," he says. "It's weird timing, but I wanted to do it enough in advance of the primary to give people enough notice."

Adrian had previously said he planned to leave the city council when his term expires in March 2014 and on Friday said that plan remained unchanged.

Photo credit: Matthew Thorsen, Seven Days

July 26, 2012

Hold the Applause: Sorrell, Sessions and Super PACs in Vermont

Updated below with comment from Sorrell challenger T.J. Donovan


Did a campaign finance decision handed down last month by U.S. District Judge William K. Sessions III limit the role of money in Vermont politics — or did it open up the floodgates?

If you're Attorney General Bill Sorrell, it depends when you ask.

A day after Sessions sided with the state in Vermont Right to Life Committee v. Sorrell, the attorney general's office issued a press release touting the decision as a victory for Vermont's campaign finance laws.

"Attorney General William Sorrell applauded the decision," the June press release reads, quoting Sorrell as saying, "The Court's ruling provides resounding confirmation of the validity of Vermont's campaign finance disclosure laws and the State's ability to address Vermonter's [sic] concerns about the influence of money in politics."

Fast-forward a month to Wednesday, when a new press release issued by the AG's office announced that, "in light of" Sessions' decision, so-called "super PACS" in Vermont are free to raise as much as they want from whomever they want and spend it however they like — so long as they do not directly coordinate with political campaigns.

Continue reading "Hold the Applause: Sorrell, Sessions and Super PACs in Vermont" »

July 20, 2012

F-35 Protestors Loudly Confront Democrats' Intervale Fundraising Soiree

Protest 204Burlington's Intervale was the setting Thursday evening for an exceptionally dramatic piece of political theater. Close to 100 protestors denouncing the F-35 stealth fighter jet loudly confronted a smaller set of Democratic Party politicians, staffers and donors who had gathered nearby for an outdoor fundraising soiree.

The fired-up demonstrators had chosen this venue because every member of Vermont's elected Democratic hierarchy supports bringing the supersonic war plane to the Air Guard station at Burlington International Airport. So does Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who consistently votes in concert with Democratic liberals. None of the big-dog backers of the F-35 attended the fundraiser in person, although Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Peter Welch, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger all dispatched aides to the event, as did Sanders.

At one point, the two groups — one casually dressed and shouting slogans; the other outfitted in summertime finery and nibbling hors d'ouvres — were separated by only about 20 yards in an open field. Chants of "money for jobs and education, not for community decimation!" drowned out the amplified voices of Democratic speakers warning of the horrors to come if Mitt Romney is elected president.

It was an awkward as well as tense juxtaposition.

Continue reading "F-35 Protestors Loudly Confront Democrats' Intervale Fundraising Soiree" »

July 19, 2012

At Burlington City Hall, Dean Re-Endorses Sorrell for Attorney General

Sorrell and DeanIn case you missed it, former governor Howard Dean totes backs Attorney General Bill Sorrell's bid for reelection.

Back in March, Dean told Seven Days' Andy Bromage he's, "all in for Bill."

"I'm going to campaign for him. I'm going to raise money for him," Dean said of his former Secretary of Administration, who he appointed to the AG post in 1997. "I don't see any reason to change horses."

But earlier this month, for a story about former governor Phil Hoff endorsing Sorrell's opponent — Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan — the AG apparently told Burlington Free Press reporter Terri Hallenbeck that Dean hadn't yet endorsed him. Two days later, a postcard featuring Dean endorsing him (see below) landed in mailboxes around the state.

Continue reading "At Burlington City Hall, Dean Re-Endorses Sorrell for Attorney General" »

Liberal Lobbyists Open Super PAC Pandora's Box in Vermont

StannardWhat on earth are Bob Stannard and Todd Bailey up to?

In a letter filed Wednesday with the Vermont Secretary of State's office, the two liberal lobbyists announced their intention to start what they're calling Vermont's first "super PAC." Unlike traditional political action committees and advocacy organizations, the new Priorities PAC intends to "raise individual, corporate and labor funds in unlimited amounts" and engage in direct electioneering efforts in Vermont, according to the filing.

Who's behind this shadowy outfit? A bunch of lefties who earlier this year founded Vermont Priorities, a nonprofit focused on fighting for universal health care, the environment, a progressive tax system and other hippie-dippie causes. Stannard (pictured above at the Statehouse), an anti-nuke lobbyist for the Vermont Citizens Action Network, chairs Vermont Priorities' six-member board. Bailey, a lobbyist for KSE Partners, serves as the group's consultant.

"Why is somebody vehemently opposed to super PACs starting one? Well, that's a good question. I don't like super PACs. I don't like the obscene amount of money that's being dumped into politics around the country," Stannard says. "But I'm simply not going to sit back and watch 40 years of sound legislative practice in Vermont get rolled."

Early press coverage of the group has focused on this ironic, yet seemingly heroic mission: As Stannard puts it, "When you think about it, people who hate super PACs are starting a Super PAC, one of whose main goals is to get rid of super PACS."

But that's not Vermont Priorities' only goal, Stannard says. The group plans to campaign on behalf of Vermont politicians who support a whole host of liberal priorities.

Continue reading "Liberal Lobbyists Open Super PAC Pandora's Box in Vermont" »

July 16, 2012

Brock Loans His Campaign $300k, and Other Surprises From Today's Campaign Filings


Updated at 8:45 a.m. with corrected figures for state auditor candidate Vince Illuzzi

There were two big surprises for those waiting at the Vermont Secretary of State's office Monday afternoon for candidates to drop off their first campaign finance reports of the election season.

The first came when Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock's fundraiser, Darcie Johnston, stopped by at 4:30 p.m. to file her boss's report. Brock (pictured) had raised roughly $529,000, she said — an impressive figure for a Vermont Republican challenging a popular incumbent Democrat. In fact, it was more than the $492,132 Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin raised over the past year — and not too far from the gov's total two-year haul of $679,512.

The second surprise came when the assembled reporters got their mitts on Brock's actual filing. Turns out the Franklin County state senator raised just $229,596 from actual donors — and loaned himself a whopping $300,000.

That's gotta be almost enough to pay for Shummy's Titanic-Care plan!

With less than four months until election day, the gov has $602,544 cash-on-hand. So far, he's spent $76,967 on his non-campaign for reelection. Brock, on the other hand, has been spending up a storm: $282,269 on his only-months-old campaign. That's only $53,000 more than he's raised from people whose names are not Randy Brock.

Continue reading "Brock Loans His Campaign $300k, and Other Surprises From Today's Campaign Filings" »

Welch Raises $134k in Second Quarter — 59 Percent of it From PACs

Local-welchCongressman Peter Welch ramped up his fundraising last quarter, bringing in $133,827 as he seeks a fourth term in the U.S. House.

To date, Vermont's lone House member has raised $679,165 during the two-year election cycle, according to a campaign finance report filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission. In that time, he has spent $279,147 on campaign and fundraising expenses, while giving $123,350 to other candidates and political committees. Welch has $1.25 million in the bank for his campaign against little-known Hartford police officer Mark Donka.

"The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United has had a dramatic impact on campaign spending," says Welch spokesman Scott Coriell. "Congressman Welch has sponsored constitutional amendments to overturn the decision as well as legislation to overhaul the broken campaign finance system. Until those reforms take effect, he will continue to raise the resources necessary to wage a competitive campaign."

Donka did not return calls for comment, but campaign manager Keith Stern, who ran for the seat himself in 2010, says Donka has raised "just under $5,000" — the threshold for filing with the FEC. Stern says Donka plans to begin seriously raising money in the third quarter and expects to raise $100,000 by the November election. In the meantime, Stern says, Donka is focused more on the issue of reducing government debt than on the political horse race.

"The news media doesn't help, because they're more focused on how much money a candidate has than the issues," Stern says. "Unfortunately, people don't pay attention to what candidates have to offer before the election. They are focused on what the commercials tell them. If people actually paid attention to what the candidates have to offer, then Mark would win easily."

Continue reading "Welch Raises $134k in Second Quarter — 59 Percent of it From PACs" »

Non-Campaigning Shumlin Finds Time for Politics in Virginia

DSC03826As recently as last Wednesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin was assuring Vermont reporters at his weekly press conference that he was just too busy "creating jobs and doing the job [he] was hired to do" to wade into election year politics.

"I think we'll have plenty of time for silly season after Labor Day," he said.

But the Green Mountain gov managed to carve out some time over the weekend for a little partisan politicking at the annual meeting of the National Governors Association in Williamsburg, Va., where he continued auditioning for the role of Democratic Party message maestro. Though just a year and a half into his first term, Shumlin appears to be chairman-in-waiting of the Democratic Governors Association, a position whose principal responsibilities include bringing in the bucks and talking smack about the GOP.

So how'd Shumlin do in Virginia? We'd provide you with some firsthand reporting, but, alas, we couldn't find a way to expense a quick trip to colonial Williamsburg. So a quick Google News roundup will have to do:

Continue reading "Non-Campaigning Shumlin Finds Time for Politics in Virginia" »

July 13, 2012

Sanders Raises $847,000 in Second Quarter, Dwarfing Republican Opponents

BernieSen. Bernie Sanders raised a whopping $847,260 from 21,144 individual contributions during the past three months in his bid for a second term in the U.S. Senate.

To date, Sanders has brought in a total of $6.1 million during the six-year election cycle from 124,529 contributions, according to a Federal Election Commission filing provided by his campaign. Of the six-year total, according to finance director Ben Eisenberg, only $510,000 has come from Vermonters — in the form of roughly 6400 contributions from the Green Mountain State.

Sanders' campaign has a little more than $4 million in the bank.

John MacGovern, one of two candidates seeking the Republican nomination to oppose Sanders in the November election, said Friday he has yet to file his own second-quarter report, which is due this Sunday. But the Windsor man, who runs the nonprofit Hanover Institute, said he raised in the "ballpark" of $12,000 or $13,000 last quarter.

The other Republican in the race, businessman H. Brooke Paige of Washington, said he's saving his fundraising for after the August primary.

Continue reading "Sanders Raises $847,000 in Second Quarter, Dwarfing Republican Opponents" »

July 12, 2012

At Brock Fundraiser, Maine Gov. Paul LePage Doubles Down on "Gestapo" Comment (AUDIO)


Updated below: Maine Democratic Party chair questions LePage's fitness for office; Vermont Dem chair says Brock should condemn remarks. Update #2: Comment from Anti-Defamation League and union representing IRS workers. 

Following a fundraiser for Vermont Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock Thursday morning, Maine Gov. Paul LePage repeated and elaborated on controversial comments he made over the weekend equating the Internal Revenue Service with the Gestapo.

Standing by Brock's side at the Sheraton in South Burlington, the Maine governor said, "What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet."

LePage then said, "They're headed in that direction."

Asked if he had a sense of what the Gestapo did during the second world war, LePage said, "Yeah, they killed a lot of people." Asked whether the IRS "was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people," LePage answered: "Yeah."

LePage's words went well beyond a controversial comment he made in his weekly radio address over the weekend. Speaking about the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision largely upholding the Affordable Care Act, LePage told his radio audience that, "This decision has made America less free. We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS."

(Part 2 of the full audio — including Brock's response — after the jump)

Continue reading "At Brock Fundraiser, Maine Gov. Paul LePage Doubles Down on "Gestapo" Comment (AUDIO)" »

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