RGA launches first ad supporting Phil Scott


MONTPELIER — The Republican Governors Association wasted little time inserting itself into Vermont’s gubernatorial campaign, launching a television ad supporting Lt. Gov. Phil Scott in his race against Democrat Sue Minter. The RGA’s quick response — just hours after Scott was declared the GOP’s nominee over former Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman, is a sure sign that Republicans and Democrats are ready to spend big on the race. The RGA purchased the ad, titled “Back on Track,” through a super PAC it funds known as A Stronger Vermont. Reports were not yet filed with the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday afternoon indicating how much the RGA is spending. The ad features a narrator saying Scott is “working hard to make Vermont better for everyone by working hand-in-hand with leaders of all parties.”

“As governor, Phil Scott will restore trust in state government, bring new jobs to Vermont, and focus on solving problems, not playing politics,” the female narrator says. Continue Reading →

Dems, GOP present unified parties as general election begins

In the foreground, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter hugs House Speaker Shap Smith, who came up short in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. In the background, Sen. David Zuckerman, the nominee for lieutenant governor, hugs Matt Dunne, who was defeated by Minter. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

BURLINGTON — After lengthy primary campaigns, both the Vermont Democratic Party and the Vermont Republican Party gathered Wednesday morning to rally their troops and present a unified front for the general election. Democrats gathered at Burlington’s Main Street Landing Wednesday morning where the winners and losers in the primaries for governor and lieutenant governor spent time exchange hugs and well wishes. Matt Dunne, who lost to Sue Minter in the gubernatorial primary Tuesday by a wide margin, provided a gracious introduction for Minter after his campaign manager Nick Charyk lashed out at her last week. Charyk accused her of being part of the establishment trying to undermine Dunne for his progressive platform, offered gracious words to his former rival Wednesday

But that seemed to be forgotten Wednesday as Dunne offered his endorsement for the general election. “It wouldn’t be OK if we just wanted any Democrat to win. Continue Reading →

Zuckerman, a Progressive, wins Dem nomination for LG

Sen. David Zuckerman

MONTPELIER — Sen. David Zuckerman pulled out a victory in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor over House Speaker Shap Smith. The three-way Democratic primary, which included Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram, remained fairly close late Tuesday night with Zuckerman holding a 3,000 vote lead over Smith. With 268 of 275 voting districts reporting, Zuckerman has a 43 percent to 37 percent edge, according to unofficial results posted by the secretary of state’s office. Ram is far behind with nearly 17 percent of the vote and conceded defeat. The Associated Press, however, called the race for Zuckerman at 10:16 p.m. “I won the Democratic primary,” Zuckerman told supporters Tuesday night, citing the AP. Continue Reading →

Minter easily tops Dunne

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter waves to commuters with a group of supporters in Waterbury on Tuesday morning. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace Brodeur)

MONTPELIER — Sue Minter pulled out a comfortable victory over Matt Dunne in what was thought to be a hotly contested race for the Vermont Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, after a frenzied final week of outside spending and missteps by Dunne. Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, has about 50 percent of the vote with 268 of 275 voting districts reporting, a 13-point margin over Dunne, a former Google executive and Windsor County state senator. Peter Galbraith, a former diplomat and Windham County state senator, lagged far behind in third with nearly 10 percent of the vote. The Associated Press called the race for Minter around 9:45 p.m. Dunne called Minter to concede soon after. “We did this,” Minter told supporters Tuesday night. Continue Reading →

Scott cruises to GOP nomination

Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Scott, and his wife Diana McTeague Scott, acknowledge the cheering crowd after Scott delivered his victory speech at the Vermont Granite Museum in Barre on Tuesday night. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)

MONTPELIER — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott easily won the Republican Party’s nomination for governor Tuesday, securing strong support across the state and surviving a months-long barrage of attack ads from rival Bruce Lisman that sought to paint Scott as an ineffective leader. The 58-year-old Scott, who is in his third term as lieutenant governor, has about 60 percent of the vote with 268 of 275 voting districts reporting, according to unofficial results posted by the Secretary of State’s Office. Lisman has about 39 percent. The Associated Press called the race for Scott at 9:21 p.m. and Lisman conceded the race shortly thereafter. “This campaign shows negative campaigning does not work in Vermont,” Scott told his supporters at a party in Barre to watch the election returns. Continue Reading →

Outside spending ramps up as primary approaches


MONTPELIER — Outside spending in the gubernatorial races is exploding as the campaigns churn toward the primary on Aug. 9, according to public filings. Reid Hoffman, the Silicon Valley billionaire who co-founded LinkedIn, has ponied up $220,000 for radio, television and online ads supporting Matt Dunne. Hoffman filed a mass media report with the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday as required by state election law. According to the filing, first reported by Seven Days, Hoffman is spending $154,000 for television spots, $44,000 for radio spots and $22,000 for online advertising. Continue Reading →

Story + Video: Scott: A career of building coalitions

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

MONTPELIER — Phil Scott likes to tell people how, about 20 years ago now, he did not have a political bone in his body. He grew up in Barre and spent his adult life building a family, a career as a contractor, and a reputation as a race car driver. He takes great pride in his blue-collar roots. But when he started to see politics miring the Legislature, he decided to step up. That trajectory — serving in the Senate and then as lieutenant governor — has forced him to become the leader he felt Vermont needed then — and now. Continue Reading →

After wind kerfuffle, Dunne campaign pushes back against Minter, Shumlin

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne speaks at a news conference at his White River Junction campaign headquarters. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne sought to quash the furor over the wind siting policy he articulated Friday at a news conference Wednesday by lashing out at fellow candidate Sue Minter and outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin. Dunne, a former Google employee and Windsor County state senator, called for the news conference at his White River Junction campaign headquarters Wednesday morning. Dunne has been floundering since he released his policy position Friday, which called for communities to first approve wind projects by popular vote before they could proceed. The policy position caused an immediate backlash. Environmentalist Bill McKibben withdrew his endorsement of Dunne in favor of Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation. Continue Reading →

Dunne, Minter spar over wind, airport contract at debate


COLCHESTER — All five Democratic candidates running for governor took part in a televised Vermont PBS debate Tuesday night, but two frontrunners dominated the discussion as they traded barbs and thinly-veiled accusations of impropriety. Sue Minter, a former Agency of Transportation secretary, and Matt Dunne, a former Google employee and Windsor County state senator, waded quickly waded into a discussion on wind energy. The issue exploded into the campaign last Friday when Dunne released a policy position calling for local communities to first approve any wind projects before they are built.

The policy announcement has cost Dunne dearly. Renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben has withdrawn his endorsement of Dunne and is now backing Minter. And on Tuesday, Vermont Conservation Voters announced it, too, was backing Minter. Continue Reading →

Scott, Lisman, face off in PBS debate

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 4.28.20 PM

COLCHESTER — The two Republican candidates for governor had their first televised, head-to-head debate Monday night and sought to immediately air their grievances with each other, but were short on specific plans. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and former Wall Street Executive Bruce Lisman used the hour-long Vermont PBS debate as a chance to highlight their ideas and contradict the assertions made by the other. But throughout the debate, neither ventured far from their broad policy ideas into specific plans. Both candidates offered spoke of using the office to revitalize Vermont’s economy. Curbing state spending and bringing it in line with the state’s economic growth was a broad goal set forth by both men. Continue Reading →