Monthly Archives: August 2012

At long last, Shumlin set to launch reelection campaign

In an official campaign launch set for Sept. 10, Gov. Peter Shumlin will finally acknowledge the existence of Candidate Peter Shumlin.

The incumbent’s reelection apparatus fired up months ago, as evidenced by the more than $750,000 stuffed into his campaign war chest. But Shumlin has been maddeningly coy with media types, insisting he’s far too occupied with the business of governing to give even a second thought to the campaign.

The daylong launch begins in Brattleboro, ends inBurlington, and will include stops at newspaper editorial boards in Bennington and Rutland along the way, according to campaign manager Alex MacLean.

“This is just a chance for the governor to kick off his campaign and talk to voters about his record and what he’s accomplished and what he’d like to get done over next couple years,” MacLean said.

The campaign launch ends with a pep rally at Nectars in Burlington.

Meantime, Shumlin is prepping for his departure next week to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. He won’t have a speaking role at the convention, MacLean said. But he will be focused heavily on events related to the Democratic Governors Association, a group that, barring any unforeseen hiccups, Shumlin will be chairing next year.

Politi-Tweets: Tweets from the world of Vermont politics

Many tweets about the GOP convention in the last few days. Here’s a select few:

Vermont Dems support Obama. Surprised?

State Democratic Chair Jake Perkinson’s statement on Romney’s speech:

And the latest Vt. GOP tweet:

Donovan camp holding 11:30 presser in Battery Park

In advance of a noontime Democratic unity rally in Burlington at which both TJ Donovan and Bill Sorrell will speak, Donovan is convening a press conference in Battery Park. We’ll have updates as they become available.


Donovan campaign sending out press advisory soon…

and it sounds like the 38-year-old challenger will be conceding the race. Mark Johnson is reporting on WDEV that Donovan was to call Bill Sorrell at the top of the hour to concede.

Trailing by about 600 votes with only 14 precincts left to report, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Donovan could overcome the deficit. Stay tuned.

Donovan campaign says victory or concession speech won’t happen Tuesday night

TJ Donovan supporter Steve Howard said the the Democratic primary race for attorney general could keep going into late Tuesday night or Wednesday, and a victory or concession speech would not happen Tuesday night.

With 244 of 258 precincts reporting, 95 percent of precinct areas, Donovan reached 20,000 votes to incumbent Bill Sorrell’s 20,615, making the margin 49 percent to 51 percent.

Sorrell: still “a mile or so more to run” in “marathon” campaign

It’s hard to call it a victory speech, but Bill Sorrell just told his crowd of supporters that he’ll hold the attorney general’s office tomorrow, and “I’m going to hold it in January too.”

At nearly 10:30, the seven-term incumbent came down from his campaign war room and made his first appearance at his own election party.  

“I can’t tell you how great it is to see so many friendly faces,” Sorrell said. “This has been a really long six months, and I’ve said several times, you know, this is more a marathon than a sprint, and we got about a mile or so more to run, and I’m feeling great.”

Donovan has already said he won’t concede tonight, and, with 600 votes separating him and the challenger, Sorrell wasn’t in any rush to declare victory.

“We’ve made it over the top of Heartbreak Hill, my breathing’s good, my legs are good, no blisters, and we got awhile to wait, but that’s okay,” he said. “Because between being 600 or so votes up and 600 or so votes down, I choose option A.”

The margin will almost certainly stay below 2 percent, meaning Donovan will have the option of demanding a recount. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, according to WCAX, Sorrell wields a 609-vote advantage. Only 16 of the state’s 258 precincts have yet to report.

Sorrell recalled a conversation with Gov. Peter Shumlin at the outset of the campaign.

“I remember six months or so ago talking with a very prominent Democratic politician in this state who said there is nothing worse than a primary,” Sorrell said. “And I believed him then and I sure believe his now.”

Shumlin ultimately won that race by 112 votes, though it wasn’t until days after the primary that he was confirmed as the winner.

Tight attorney general primary numbers waiver slightly

Incumbent Bill Sorrell’s tight lead has extended to 548 votes against challenger TJ Donovan, who has yet to reach 20,000 votes.

With 94 percent of precincts reporting around 10:20 p.m. for the Democratic primary, Sorrell had 20,399 votes or 51 percent of the vote. Donovan had 19,851 votes or 49 percent, according to an unofficial AP tally.


Donovan says he won’t concede

BURLINGTON — Democratic primary attorney general challenger TJ Donovan said Tuesday around 9:35 p.m. he didn’t know where the numbers would go tonight, but he would not concede.

“Tonight we’re just a few votes away from making history,” he said standing next to his wife in a Hilton Burlington conference room full of people standing.

According to the AP, at around 9:50 p.m., Attorney General Bill Sorrell held a 434-vote lead over Donovan, with 91% of precincts reporting (235 out of 258).

Sorrell up by 434 with 83% reporting

According to AP, with 213 of 258 precincts reporting, Bill Sorrell holds a slim lead over TJ Donovan. Hard to tell which are the 45 precincts remaining.

With 81 percent of precincts reporting, it’s Sorrell by 300 votes

That’s the latest from the Sorrell war room. Still anyone’s race, it appears…

In Brattleboro, Toleno gets better of O’Connor

In a Democratic primary between two well-known residents of northernBrattleboro, Tristan Toleno narrowly bested Kate O’Connor for a spot on the general election ballot for state representative.

Toleno, local-foods entrepreneur who runs a catering business, won 352 votes to O’Connor’s 323 to win theWindham2-3 district.

O’Connor, a former top aide to Gov. Howard Dean, said she wondered harsh criticism directed at her by a local radio host played a role in the loss. She was pilloried by the deejay for her role in the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Rich Tarrant.

“I stayed positive, so I don’t know what role that played in this whole thing,” O’Connor said.

Toleno said his commitment to local food systems, business experience and work in area schools resonated with voters.

“It was really a question about whether they wanted to send a citizen legislator who was active in the community, or if they wanted to have Kate, with her executive branch experience, but maybe had spent a little less time in Brattleboro over the last few years.”


One part of Hilton Burlington swarming with Donovan supporters

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BURLINGTON — A conference room for Democratic primary attorney general candidate T.J. Donovan has some 125 or more people, ranging from politicians to office workers and supporters. There’s standing room only, and people are hovering over iPhones to check AP … Continue reading

AP calls GOP Republican Senate primary for MacGovern

John MacGovern has defeated H. Brooke Paige for the right to take on Bernie Sanders in November.

MacGovern was elected four times to the Massachusetts House in the 1980s, and has helped form a number of companies conducting business in China. He currently runs a nonprofit for Dartmouth alumni.

Paige has worked in several industries, topping off his career with his own newsstand service in the Philadelphia area. He was the chairman of the Washington Republican Committee for about 10 years.

Donovan campaign bustling

BURLINGTON — A conference room filled with T.J. Donovan supporters at the Hilton Burlington is buzzing with chatter as precinct results for the Democratic attorney general race are rolling out.

With 23 percent of the precincts reporting, incumbent Bill Sorrell had 51 percent of the vote, and Donovan had 49 percent, according to unofficial figures. The crowd applauded after previously giving a “boo” in unison because another tally showed Sorrell with a wider margin.

Former Gov. Phil Hoff is here, and the crowd hovered around a standing up flatscreen with TV news updates scrolling on the screen.

Donovan is walking into the room now.

Lots of eyes on Prog primary for governor

Tonight’s contest for attorney general will dominate headlines tomorrow, but, vote-for-vote, the Progressive gubernatorial primary will win far more attention than the battle between the Democratic prosecutors.

A late-race write-in campaign launched on behalf of anti-mountaintop-wind activist Annette Smith might well draw fewer than 1,000 votes. But the outcome could have an outsized impact on gubernatorial politics in November.

Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, calls herself a reluctant candidate. But supporters of her organization’s platform – she opposes ridgeline wind development, F-35s at the Vermont Air National Guard, and the Public Service Board’s approval of the blockbuster merger of Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service – say they’ve conscripted the Danby resident for public service.

It’s unclear whether Smith would actually accept the nomination if she wins tonight – we may not know the outcome until tomorrow, since write-ballots take much longer to tally. She’s up against Progressive stalwart Martha Abbott, whose name actually appears on the party’s gubernatorial ballot.

If Smith does win the nod, she’d make for an interesting twist in what has to date been a relatively unremarkable gubernatorial race.

Only 533 Vermonters voted in the 2010 Progressive primary. In 2008, the number was 470. In addition to anti-big-wind folks, the “Stop the F-35” coalition has thrown in for Smith.

The group, which numbers several hundred, fired of an email to its members urging them to pull a Prog ballot and write-in Smith. The same plea appears on the group’s website.

Stephanie Kaplan, the anti-ridgeline-wind activist credited with launching the write-in campaign, said today it’s impossible to predict what kind of response her two-week write-in campaign will generate.

As of right now, the Secretary of State is reporting that Abbott has 17 votes, to 22 for “write-in,” who we presume is Smith.

“We have no way of knowing” how many people will come out for Smith, Kaplan said.

“I feel like we’ve gotten an outpouring of support, but I can’t tell you what that means in terms of votes,” she said.

Abbott hasn’t committed to running in the general election if she wins tonight. She said last week she’ll announce tonight or Wednesday whether she’ll stay in, or withdraw her name from the general-election ballot.