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October 05, 2012

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newEach Friday here at Off Message headquarters, we do our very best to bring you the week's winners and losers in Vermont news and politics. Sometimes, however, we just spew out the same old conventional wisdom you've been hearing all week. We'll let you decide what kind of week this is.

And so, without further ado, we give you The Scoreboard, for the week of Oct. 5:


Peter Hirschfeld — The chief of the Vermont Press Bureau wrote a solid story Wednesday about an unusual land deal involving Gov. Peter Shumlin and four friends who have donated to his campaign. When Hirschfeld followed up on the story at a Thursday press conference with a reasonable line of questioning, Shumlin launched into two separate ad hominem attacks on the reporter, asking if he'd joined the National Enquirer, and then huffed out of the room. Impressively, Hirschfeld kept his cool — and he kept on point. Shumlin might also keep in mind the role the Enquirer played in former senator John Edwards' career.

Bill Sorrell's ego — In a brazen display of chutzpah, the Democratic attorney general announced in a press release Thursday that campaign manager Mike Pieciak has gone back to his day job and won't be replaced. According to communications director Emma Hansen, she and former finance intern Robert Schmidt will steer the ship through election day, with advice from Pieciak. Guess Sorrell's not too worried about Republican opponent Jack McMullen's ad buys or Progressive opponent Ed Stanak's ponytail!

Stewart Ledbetter — The moderator of Vermont Public Television's gubernatorial debate managed to keep a straight face — and keep independent debate menace Emily Peyton in check — throughout 90 minutes of nuttiness Thursday night. Watch out, Jim Lehrer! First Runner-up: Peyton's leather jacket, because it was awesome. Second Runner-up: Liberty-Union candidate Dave Eagle, the night's goldilocks debater. He was less zany than two of the candidates and less of a politician than the other two. Bonus Loser: Vermont Public Television, which really just needs to stop being so democratic and inclusive. Bonus Loser Runner-Up: Independent write-in candidate Annette Smith, who didn't even make the cut at this debate.

Losers after the jump...


Wendy Wilton — Appealing, perhaps, to the all-powerful homeowner/nativist vote, the Republican candidate for state treasurer got all hectic on incumbent Democrat Beth Pearce Tuesday night for, um, renting her home. First Runner-up: WCAX-TV, for touching off the controversy by inaccurately reporting that Pearce owns a home in Massachusetts (Scandal!). Second Runner-up: Pearce, whose campaign alleged without any proof that Wilton was behind the story. Bonus Winner: Jimmy McMillian, because, of course, the rent is too damn high.

Vermont's Teeth: By a 3-2 vote, the UNELECTED DEATH PANEL — sorry, I mean the Green Mountain Care Board — on Thursday declined to include adult dental benefits in the federally-mandated health care exchange. That's a bummer for the gumbers.

Randy Brock — No need to belabor the point, but the Republican gubernatorial candidate is in a bit of a box. He's a serious and accomplished guy, VTDigger's Jon Margolis writes, "But he is not going to be elected governor, and at some point the reluctance to declare the race over has to give way to the fact that this race is over."

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