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October 30, 2012

Scott Criticizes Negative New Ad from Brock

A new TV ad released Tuesday morning by Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock is drawing criticism from the top elected official in his own party: Lt. Gov. Phil Scott.

"I've never bought into the notion that negative campaigning is something Vermonters necessarily want to see," Scott says. "I'm sure there's some portions of the ad that are accurate. It's, I guess, the innuendos. It just seems a little over-the-top to me. I'm not comfortable with that kind of thing."

Brock's 30-second ad brutally slams his Democratic opponent, Gov. Peter Shumlin, on everything from land deals to out-of-state travel to "thousands of taxpayer dollars spent to settle undisclosed discrimination and misconduct allegations."

Here, watch it for yourself:


Scott says he first saw the ad during an editorial board meeting with the Barre/Montpelier Times-Argus and the Rutland Herald Tuesday afternoon. He says it reminded him of the nasty 2010 gubernatorial campaign between Shumlin and former lieutenant governor Brian Dubie.

Continue reading "Scott Criticizes Negative New Ad from Brock" »

Commentary: The Island of Misfit Candidates. Or, Why Bernie Will Never EVER Lose

Senate debateThat Bernie Sanders will retain his U.S. Senate seat in next week's election is a foregone conclusion. So you could be excused for not tuning in to the formality that was the U.S. Senate debate on Vermont Public Television last Thursday night. But if you were one of the estimated 26 people who did watch, then you were witness to perhaps the strangest and most unintentionally hilarious 90 minutes in the history of Vermont politics.

When ol' Bernardo is the most even-keeled voice in the room, you know you've entered a political Twilight Zone. Nothing against the distinguished gentleman from Vermont, but subtlety and nuance has never been his strikeout pitch. Yet in comparison to the rogue's gallery of challengers he faced on this night, Bernie was a vision of stoicism. To call these folks eccentric would be an act of charity so generous that Paul Ryan would probably enact legislation against it.

What follows is a brief rundown of some of the evening's highlights, with a declaration of who really won the day. You can view the entire debate — highly recommended — right here.

Continue reading "Commentary: The Island of Misfit Candidates. Or, Why Bernie Will Never EVER Lose" »

October 29, 2012

Video Dump: New Television Ads From Wilton and McMullen

——— We now interrupt serious news coverage for something completely inconsequential. ———

A new ad released Monday morning by Republican state treasurer candidate Wendy Wilton features a familiar face — and voice.

Former governor Jim Douglas — himself a four-term state treasurer — narrates the ad and appears in it, telling voters that, "Wendy Wilton is a professional, non-political fiscal leader who is looking out for you."

The ad features footage of Wilton strolling with a mother and child and Wilton chattin' with the former governor; it closes with Wilton facing the camera, saying, "I'll provide total transparency for all our state finances online, and I'd appreciate your vote on Nov. 6th."

Douglas did not immediately return a call for comment Monday, but said in a statement released by the Wilton campaign that the Douglas and Wilton families have been friends for years.

Here's the ad:


Continue reading "Video Dump: New Television Ads From Wilton and McMullen" »

October 22, 2012

Video: Wildflower Inn Owners Appear in Anti-Same Sex Marriage Ad in Maine

Last year, a lesbian couple sued the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville when it refused to host the couple's wedding reception due to the owners' religious beliefs. That case came to an end this summer, when the inn agreed to pay $30,000 as a part of a settlement with the couple.

Now Jim and Mary O'Reilly, the owners of the Wildflower Inn, are appearing in a TV ad opposing same-sex marriage in Maine, where voters will decide whether to overturn the state's same-sex marriage ban on Election Day. "A lesbian couple sued us for not supporting their gay wedding because of our Christian beliefs," Jim says in the ad, which was paid for by a group called Protect Marriage Maine.

The Portland Press Herald calls the ad "misleading" and "mostly false," since the innkeepers were sued for breaking a 1992 anti-discrimination law, not the 2009 same-sex marriage law. Watch it for yourself below.

October 18, 2012

Updated: In First Campaign Ads, Shumlin Talks About "Getting Tough Things Done"

UPDATE: Shortly after publishing this post, we learned from the Shumlin campaign that the ad mentioned immediately below won't air until Monday. A separate ad featuring Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon and Rutland Mayor Chris Louras, which was just posted on YouTube, began running today. We've included that video at the bottom of this post.

Gov. Peter Shumlin posted his first campaign ad of the season Thursday on YouTube, and it hits on some familiar themes: job creation, health care reform and the state's recovery from Tropical Storm Irene.

If you're like us and you drink every time you hear him say some variation of how he "gets tough things done," then you'd better keep the TV off 'til Nov. 6 — or find yourself a designated driver.

The ad features the governor speaking directly to the camera, with what could pass for the West Wing soundtrack playing in the background. Looking mighty sincere, he tells us, "When you elected me governor, I said we'd get tough things done. And together, we've made it through some tough times."

After breezing through his accomplishments, Shummy flashes us his trademark smile and says, "So I'm asking for your vote. With your help, we'll keep getting tough things done, together."

Here's the ad:


Continue reading "Updated: In First Campaign Ads, Shumlin Talks About "Getting Tough Things Done"" »

October 17, 2012

Video: Brock, Wilton & Vermonters First Air New TV Ads

As we reported in this week's Fair Game, Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock has a new television ad out today hitting Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin on his record on taxes and spending.

"It continues to show the contrast between what Gov. Shumlin will do and what I propose doing," Brock told Seven Days late Tuesday. "I propose more focus on honest spending."

Here's what the new ad looks like:


According to records filed with the Secretary of State's office, it looks like Brock's buying just $30,000 in air time, which won't get him too far. The Franklin County senator hinted to reporters last week that he may replenish his campaign account with another personal loan — he's already invested $300,000 of his own money — but Brock said Tuesday that he has yet to make such a decision.

Shumlin's campaign plans to air its first two ads of the cycle starting later this week at a cost of $125,000.

We caught up with the governor Wednesday after a press conference at Winooski's MyWebGrocer and asked him about Brock's ad. Though he hadn't yet seen it, Shumlin was more than happy to discuss his own spending record.

Continue reading "Video: Brock, Wilton & Vermonters First Air New TV Ads" »

October 10, 2012

Video: In Its First Ad, Liberal Super PAC to Push Pearce for Treasurer

**Updated below**

The liberal super PAC Vermont Priorities will run its first ad starting Wednesday and, as expected, it will back Democratic State Treasurer Beth Pearce.

The 30-second ad will air during the morning and evening news on WCAX-TV Thursday and Friday and will also run for a week on cable television, according to Todd Bailey, the group's consultant. The buy cost the group $15,000.

"We're anticipating other contributions coming in and, as those come in, we'll buy accordingly for this particular ad," Bailey says.

Here's what the ad looks like:


Continue reading "Video: In Its First Ad, Liberal Super PAC to Push Pearce for Treasurer" »

October 08, 2012

Video: McMullen Loans His AG Campaign "Low Six Figures," Releases Two New Ads

Republican candidate for attorney general Jack McMullen is up with two new TV ads: one taking incumbent Democratic AG Bill Sorrell to task on crime and the other faulting him for personally arguing a campaign finance case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Though McMullen declined to reveal how much he's spending to air the two ads, he said he's raised $50,000 from contributors thus far and loaned his campaign an amount "in the low six figures." He added that his campaign could pay back the personal loan if it succeeds in raising more money.

According to McMullen, the ad focusing on crime will run for several weeks — possibly through the election — and replaces an earlier biographical ad. It features footage of two somewhat preppy-looking drug dealers handing off the goods, as well as a still shot of an older woman with purple bruises below her eye and on her lips. Here, watch it for yourself:


Continue reading "Video: McMullen Loans His AG Campaign "Low Six Figures," Releases Two New Ads" »

October 02, 2012

Video: Brock Takes on Single-Payer in New TV Ad

As the ever-enterprising Peter Hirschfeld of the Vermont Press Bureau reported earlier Tuesday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock is hitting the airwaves with a new TV ad — this one focused on Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin's single-payer health care agenda.

Brock's finance consultant and de facto campaign manager Darcie Johnston confirmed to Seven Days that the new ad will run for 10 days at a cost of $70,000. It comes on the heels of a previous 10-day, $70,000 ad campaign focusing on the economy and featuring a singing Shumlin.

Here's the new ad. And, boy, does the soundtrack creep us out.


Pop Quiz: Who's Trying to Tax the Crap Out of Small Businesses?

Let's play a game.

Step one: Watch the following new television advertisement from the conservative super PAC Vermonters First.


Now, pop quiz: Asked Monday whether they support broadening Vermont's sales tax to cover not just goods but services rendered, the two major-party candidates running for governor provided the following answers.

Your mission? To guess which response came from Gov. Peter Shumlin, one of those "out-of-control" Democrats running Montpelier, and which came from Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin), the free-market savior running to replace him.

Candidate A:

"I think the jury's still out on broadening the sales tax base," said Candidate A. "The key is what services are going to be included and what's the unintended consequences. We have taken zero testimony on that. And until I hear testimony, I'm not going to draw a conclusion."

Candidate B:

"I have been a longtime opponent of the sales tax. I have watched the sales tax drive jobs and economic opportunities into New Hampshire along the eastern side of the state, and it's had a devastating impact on jobs and job growth," said Candidate B. "I have never been enthusiastic about expanding or raising the sales tax. I have always been against it."

Time's up! Pencils down.

Continue reading "Pop Quiz: Who's Trying to Tax the Crap Out of Small Businesses?" »

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