Monthly Archives: August 2010

Peyton: I was just kidding about that lawsuit stuff

Independent candidate for governor Emily Peyton says she was not serious about her threats to sue Vermont newspapers and media organizations for allegedly not covering her campaign.

-Dan Barlow

Flanagan: Website was hacked

Chittenden County State Sen. Ed Flanagan is NOT launching an independent bid for state auditor.

Flanagan, a Democrat, sent out an e-mail seeking donations yesterday, confusing everyone because he lost the primary race against Doug Hoffer on Tuesday.

Flanagan responded last night that the donation-seeking e-mail was fake – the result of his election website being hacked earlier this month.

The senator wrote:

This morning an email went out under my name asking for donations.  This email was not sent by me.  Last week my website was hacked and although I called the appropriate parties to handle the situation, the fraudulent email got out before they were able to correct the impact of the hacking.
Please accept my apologies and thank you for your past generosity and support.
I have congratulated Doug Hoffer, a good friend, on his victory and I wish him well in his general election.
Mystery solved!
-Dan Barlow

FOX News faux pas

Want another reason not to watch FOX News?

How about this:

MANCHESTER – The 24-foot-tall cross near a chapel in Lyndon has raised questions about the conflict between church and state, but now a Fox News report has added another issue: mistaken identity.

Manchester Town Manager John O’Keefe said that since the “Fox and Friends” show aired a segment recently on what they called the “cross controversy,” Manchester’s town offices have been getting angry phone calls and e-mails from people who believe the cross, and the officials who want it to come down, are in Manchester.

In the three-and-a-half minute segment, which is posted on the Internet, the name of the town where Richard and Joan Downing live is never mentioned. Lyndon is about 140 miles north of Manchester.

Since FOX News wrongly suggested that the cross was in Manchester, the town has been flooded with calls accusing officials of being anti-Christian.

“All I know is I’ve gotten a bunch of angry phone calls from all over the country, Virginia, Montana, New Jersey, suggesting that they’re never going to come here,” said Town Manager John O'Keefe.

For added context, here's FOX Nation's sensational write-up of the cross controversy.

I wouldn't hold my breath for a correction or clarification.

– Dan Barlow

Salmon: I have faith in God

Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon has made his first public statements since Democrat Doug Hoffer won the primary Tuesday. This will be the first year that Salmon runs as a Republican after switching parties.

Here's what Salmon had to say on his Facebook page:

Thanks all supporters. I will be postive, professional and strategic. I Will be checking in with you as we work through the weeks. Lets make this Week 1 of 10. My week 1 report is that I plan to share with you the things on the campaign for State Auditor. Already I am being investigated by my opponent who thinks he can find fault with my employee expense reports. Problem for him is that he's not the first or second or third person to request such information. Sorry Charlie, I have not even put in an expense reimbursement request since becoming a Republican!…Psych! I will keep you posted on how my opponent is going to negatively try and tear me down. Politics is a contact sport but I have faith in God.

I'm not sure who this "Charlie" is that Salmon is talking about – his Democratic general election opponent's first name is Doug.

Here's some responses from Salmon's Facebook fans:

If it wasn't for GOD, the very foundation that our fore fathers set forth for our country, we wouldn't be having the freedom and constitution that we all so much enjoy! Try freedom of speech in the far East and see what happens! Tom," Always, Always put GOD first!


Thomas, Keep up the "God thing" and you'll have many, many votes here. We only want good, moral Christians in leadership just as our forefathers intended. Thank you for having such integrity — it hasn't and will not go unnoticed.


looking forward to supporting you down here in Indian country Tom!!

UPDATE: Salmon also has a lengthy post on his reelection website (he's launched a section called "Hofferville") that accuses Hoffer of being "self-righteous and nasty" and raising questions about why he didn't serve in the Vietnam War.

Salmon wrote:

He's spent two decades dishing it out from behind a computer screen…let's see if he can take it.

Wow, it's going to be a fun race.

– Dan Barlow

Matt Dunne: The comic book

Cartoonist James Sturm, the co-founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, spent election day with former State Sen. Matt Dunne as he tried to get the Democratic nomination for governor.

And he produced this comic for Slate about the experience.

(Above, a Sen. Doug Racine supporter jokes with the cartoonist (a Dunne supporter).

– Dan Barlow

Is Ed Flanagan continuing his auditor campaign?

An e-mail from Flanagan's campaign went out to supporters early this morning:

Thank you for all your help and support over these past years.   It has allowed me to serve Vermonters in working as their State Auditor & Senator.
All I am asking for today is a small donation to help me continue with my campaign.
All donations are extremely appreciated every dollar helps.
Your donations help build a better future for vermont!
Flanagan wasn't home when we called this morning.
– Dan Barlow

So, who won? Who knows!

More than 16 hours after polls closed for Vermont's primary election, we still don't know who the Democratic nominee for governor is. Democrats are still holding a Unity Rally in Burlington at noontime, so we should know more then.

Do they rally around front-runner Peter Shumlin, who seems to be leading (according to some numbers) by less than 200 votes? Do they rally around the idea of a recount – which could take weeks and benefit Republican candidate Brian Dubie? Is this the extended Obama-Clinton primary all over again?

"We're glad that the primary was not in September," said Casey Haggas, the communications director for the Vermont Democratic Party. She had no news as to what would happen at the rally.

Former State Sen. Matt Dunne was conceded the race. Here's what he wrote to supporters this morning:

While all four of the top contenders are still within about 4% of each other, it does not appear that we will end up on top, even with the remaining towns outstanding.

It was a tough week for Dunne, although he had a great turnout and some momentum on his side. Complicated the campaign, of course, was Dunne's brother going to the hospital last week. Dunne said:

The last week of this campaign was particularly challenging for me and my family, but I am happy to report that my brother Josh is continuing to recover at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and even insisted that an absentee ballot be delivered to his hospital room. The outpouring of support and the continued strength of the campaign during my absence is a reminder of what an incredible community we have in Vermont.

– Dan Barlow

Gov. Primary election results…

We're still trying to track down the last remaining votes in the Democratic governor's primary. When we turned out the lights at 2 a.m., we had 229 out of 260 precincts counted, and Doug Racine carrying a narrow lead. Those totals came from the Associated Press and our own checking.

This morning we called around to the remaining town clerks' offices, and now we've totaled 72,870 votes, with just 410 separating the top three candidates. We still have 3 towns' totals outstanding: Cabot, Lemington and Guildhall.

Cabot, apparently, is taking a long time because of a large number of write-in candidates. The Lemington and Guildhall town clerk's offices are not open today as of right now. With all that being said, here's how we count it right now (11:23 a.m. on Wednesday):

Shumlin – 18,201 (25%)

Racine – 18,014 (24.7%)

Markowitz – 17,791 (24.4%)

Dunne – 15,081 (20.7%)

Bartlett – 3,783 (5.2%)

– Rob Mitchell


State Auditor Tom Salmon still lists three reports that have not been released as "accomplishments" on his reelection website.

But watch for the asterisk.

The three reports …

1. Monitoring and Management of the Entergy Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Fund
2. Situation Report at WNESU

3. Comparison between a Unified Supervisory District and a Multi-Board non-unified Supervisory Union

… are all now followed by an *, pointing to the bottom of the page where it clarifies that these are "draft reports."

So far, Salmon, the Republican incumbent for the job, hasn't returned phone calls or e-mails about these reports, why they are delayed and why he listed them as accomplishments on his reelection website.

– Dan Barlow


Shumlin: The skilled politician


The Vermont Press Bureau's series of profiles of the Democratic candidates for governor concluded this Sunday with our feature on Senate President Peter Shumlin.

Here's the lede:

By Peter Hirschfeld
Vermont Press Bureau – Published: August 15, 2010

For someone who had trouble spelling, Peter Shumlin has a way with words.

As a young student in his native Putney, Shumlin’s dyslexia thwarted his classroom efforts. Much as he tried, he says, the letters wouldn’t cooperate.

Frustrated with the written word, he learned to excel at the spoken. The academic failings he endured as a youngster, he says, gave rise to the rhetorical aptitude that has made him one of the most skilled politicians in Montpelier.

Read the rest of the story here.

– Dan Barlow

Video: Hydro-Quebec power deal press conference

Relive the magic of last week's press conference announcing the Hydro-Quebec power deal with the Vermont Press Bureau's new YouTube channel.

– Dan Barlow

Back to nature

This has been making the Montpelier political rounds ….


It's a picture of Charles Merriman – Democratic candidate for secretary of state – going back to nature on a secluded part of the Long Trail. The picture was posted (and censored) on Facebook by his wife, mystery writer Sarah Strohmeyer.

– Dan Barlow

Sturm’s back on


Vermont cartoonist James Sturm, the co-founder of White River Junction's Center for Cartoon Studies, has ended his four month sabatical from the Internet.

Here's his latest Slate column, where he explains the ups and downs of his first day reconnected.

(The above illustration is by Sturm).

– Dan Barlow

Rep. Albert “Sonny” Audette 1932-2010

The well-loved South Burlington state representative died Saturday after a lengthy illness.

– Dan Barlow

I’m on a cow!

Dan Freilich – the primary opponent for U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy – put out this Internet ad over the weekend, a parody of the Old Spice ads.

"I'm on a cow!" has now entered the Vermont political vernacular.

– Dan Barlow