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Election 2014

January 16, 2014

A Crowded Field Emerges to Replace Fox in the Senate

At least five Democrats are campaigning to fill a Chittenden County Senate seat opened up last week by the death of Sen. Sally Fox. 

The candidates include two incumbent House members, a former state party chairman, a major philanthropist and the runner-up in the 2012 race to represent Vermont's most populous county. More contenders could yet emerge.

While the decision ultimately rests with Gov. Peter Shumlin, he is likely to choose from a list of candidates — typically three — sent to him by the Chittenden County Democratic Committee. That group plans to meet next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Fletcher Free Library to make its selection.

All five declared candidates have been calling and emailing the 80 county committee members eligible to vote. Only members who live within the district — which includes most of the county, but excludes Colchester, Huntington and Buel's Gore — can cast a ballot.

So who's running? Here's the list, thus far, in alphabetical order: 

Continue reading "A Crowded Field Emerges to Replace Fox in the Senate" »

December 12, 2013

Breaking: New Jersey Guy Comes to Vermont and Says Stuff, Sources Say

By now you know that I have absolutely nothing to tell you about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech to some 650 Vermont Republicans Wednesday night at the Champlain Valley Exposition.

As has been exhaustively reported by your loyal press corps, the event sold out weeks ago — well before Vermont GOP elders let it be known that reporters would be denied entry. And none of us was smart enough to grab a $50 ticket before the grabbing got done.

What a bummer. 

So all we can offer you, dear reader, are a couple of badly lit photos of the fairgrounds taken by one very cold, and slightly under-dressed reporter. Like this: 


Continue reading "Breaking: New Jersey Guy Comes to Vermont and Says Stuff, Sources Say" »

December 09, 2013

Shumlin Reelected Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association

DGA Holiday Party inviteGov. Peter Shumlin was elected to a second term as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association on Monday, the organization announced.

As such, the Vermonter will lead Democratic efforts to win the 36 governorships up for grabs in November 2014. Of those, 22 are currently held by Republicans.

Shumlin was first elected to lead the partisan political group last December, when he hadn't quite finished his first term. In his first year as DGA chairman, the organization helped Terry McAuliffe recapture Virginia for the Democrats. The DGA sat out the year's other gubernatorial election, in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie easily won reelection.

"By focusing on the issues that matter in the everyday lives of middle-class families, the DGA won a major victory in Virginia this year," Shumlin said in a written statement released after his reelection. "In 2014, we will build on that momentum and communicate how Republican governors across the country have pursued a failed economic philosophy that rewards the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class and critical investments in education. I appreciate the support of my colleagues, and look forward to the important work of growing the ranks of Democratic governors."

Continue reading "Shumlin Reelected Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association" »

Siegel to Seek Reelection to Burlington City Council

Siegel-thorsen-073113When we wrote last week about next year's Burlington City Council elections, just one incumbent had yet to decide whether she'd seek reelection: Councilor Rachel Siegel (P-Ward 3). 

Now Siegel says she's in.

The decision wasn't easy, she says. Siegel was hired in September as executive director of the Peace and Justice Center. She says she struggled to determine whether she could balance that new role with her council and family obligations. 

"I've had life changes since I ran two years ago," the Ward 3 Prog says. "The balance of my life has changed, and we really had to discuss how to make it sustainable without it having a big impact on the family. We figured out a handful of really concrete things we can do to try to keep some semblance of balance. It seems totally doable, and I'm totally psyched."

Continue reading "Siegel to Seek Reelection to Burlington City Council" »

December 06, 2013

Vermont Democratic Party Spokesman to Challenge Progressive Burlington City Councilor

EmersonDemocratic operative Ryan Emerson said Friday he's leaving his job as spokesman for the Vermont Democratic Party and running for the Burlington City Council.

"I'm running because I really want to step up and do something different," Emerson (pictured at right) said. "I feel like I can bring a lot to the Old North End. It's been my home for the past few years. I've worked behind the scenes in Vermont politics and I want to use that experience to help my community."

If nominated at a Burlington Democratic Party caucus next Wednesday, Emerson would face off against Progressive Councilor Max Tracy for a Ward 2 seat in the Old North End.

Asked why he thought Tracy should go, Emerson said, "There's nothing wrong with Max Tracy. He seems like a great guy. This is about me and what I can do for my community."

Emerson did say he disagreed with Tracy's vote to bar F-35 fighter jets from being based at the city-owned Burlington International Airport. He said the council "wasted a lot of time" debating the issue and that banning the planes could have jeopardized federal funding.

"I think not allowing F-35s to be based here and giving Burlington that liability and making it possible that we wouldn't have an airport, I think that would be an irresponsible decision," he said.

Continue reading "Vermont Democratic Party Spokesman to Challenge Progressive Burlington City Councilor" »

December 05, 2013

For $10,000, a Chance to Dine with Gov. Chris Christie in Vermont

Gov. Chris Christie
Photo By Bob Jagendorf from Manalapan, NJ, USA [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wanna break bread with a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination? All it takes is a $10,000 check made out to the Vermont Republican Party.

When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie comes to town next Wednesday, he'll speak to nearly 700 of the party faithful at the Vermont GOP's "Welcome Winter Gala." Fifty-dollar tickets to the event at the Robert E. Miller Expo Centre in Essex Junction sold out two weeks ago.

But the real schmoozing will take place ahead of the gala, during two exclusive events featuring heftier price tags and more access to the would-be president. Tickets to a two-hour private reception cost $1000 per couple, while access to a "Policy Roundtable" with the governor costs $10,000 per couple, according to an invitation obtained by Seven Days.

Continue reading "For $10,000, a Chance to Dine with Gov. Chris Christie in Vermont" »

December 04, 2013

This Week's Issue: COTS Stations, Mobile Meals and 2014 Election News


Cover-120413Boy, how about those F-35s, huh? When you're done reading about the planes on this here blog, check out the stories on other newsy topics in this week's Seven Days.

Read all about it in print, online or on the iOS app.

Cover photo of folk singer Rik Palieri by Matthew Thorsen.

November 06, 2013

Shumlin's Democratic Governors Association Scores in Virginia

DSC04535In his first test as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, Gov. Peter Shumlin walked away from Tuesday's elections with a win and a loss. 

But the win, in Virginia's hotly contested gubernatorial race, was more significant for the DGA than the loss in New Jersey's decidedly less competitive gubernatorial match.

The DGA poured $6.5 million into the Old Dominion to support former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe's fight against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, while it largely sat out New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono's uphill battle against Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

(Pictured from L to R at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill last November: DGA senior advisor Bill Lofy, Shumlin, DGA executive director Colm O'Comartun and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley)

"I am really excited we're going to have a job-creating governor in Virginia who does not embrace the radical policies of the Tea Party," Shumlin said Wednesday after a press conference in Burlington. "It's a great victory and a great victory for all of us."

Continue reading "Shumlin's Democratic Governors Association Scores in Virginia" »

October 17, 2013

Sorrell to Seek Reelection as Attorney General

Sorrell announce

Updated at 6:14 p.m. with more comment from Sorrell.

Vermont's Democratic attorney general, Bill Sorrell, said Thursday he plans to run for a ninth full term as the state's top prosecutor next November.

In an appearance on WDEV's "The Mark Johnson Show," Sorrell first said he was "intending to run" for reelection. When pressed further, he said, "I'm going to run."

Sorrell's intentions have been a topic of great speculation since he narrowly survived a primary election challenge in August 2012. The AG, who was first appointed to the post in 1997, defeated Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan by just 714 votes. Sorrell went on to easily defeat Republican businessman Jack McMullen and Progressive activist Ed Stanak.

Continue reading "Sorrell to Seek Reelection as Attorney General" »

Welch Raises $213K in Campaign Cash; Leahy, Sanders Raise $30K

The Federal Election Commission was closed early this week when quarterly fundraising reports came due, but that didn't keep members of Vermont's congressional delegation from reporting how much money they'd raised.

Of the trio, Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) collected by far the most for his campaign coffers in the three months ending September 30. The four-term House member took in more than $213,000 and spent nearly $64,000, leaving him with $1.3 million in the bank. 

Welch's two-year term expires in November 2014, while Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) six-year terms end in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Both senators raised roughly the same amount last quarter. Leahy took in $31,000 and spent $68,000, leaving him with $1.6 million cash on hand. Sanders, meanwhile, raised $33,000 and spent $35,000. His $4 million war chest remains by far the largest.

Continue reading "Welch Raises $213K in Campaign Cash; Leahy, Sanders Raise $30K " »

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