Minter, Leahy launch general election ads

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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1:15 p.m.

MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter is on the airwaves with her first general election television ad, while Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy has launched his first two television ads of the Senate campaign. Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, launched an ad Tuesday that looks to highlight her management skills. It focuses on her work helping the state recover from Tropical Storm Irene and and serving on President Barack Obama’s Climate Preparedness and Resilience Task Force. A narrator lays out what Minter’s goals as governor will be. “As Governor, Sue Minter will make sure our children can stay and succeed here in Vermont with affordable education and livable wage jobs, a governor who will put Vermont families first,” the narrator says. Continue Reading →

Scott releases health care plan, seeks to close exchange

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott speaks about his health care plan at a news conference in Burlington. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

BURLINGTON — Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the Republican nominee for governor, released a health care plan Wednesday that seeks to scuttle the state’s online health insurance exchange and undo other initiatives put in place by outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin. Speaking at a news conference on Burlington’s Church Street, Scott linked his health care proposals to the major theme of his campaign — making the state more affordable. “For a lot of people who live here or who are thinking about living here, I think the affordability crisis will be the defining issue during this election,” he said. “One of the many reasons Vermont is unaffordable for so many Vermonters is because of the cost of health care.”

Scott reiterated his call Wednesday to scrap Vermont Health Connect in his first major policy proposal of the gubernatorial campaign. He has been calling on the state to abandon its own exchange for several years in favor of joining either the federal exchange or a multi-state exchange that does not yet exist. Continue Reading →

Shumlin headed to Washington to negotiate all-payer model

Gov. Peter Shumlin

MONTPELIER — Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and his top health care team will meet with federal officials next week to continue negotiations on a major transformation in how health care is paid for in the state. Shumlin, a Democrat whose tenure in office will end in January after three terms, is seeking a transformational shift in the state’s health care system. He said at an unrelated news conference Wednesday that he and top aides will meet with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell to help negotiations that have been ongoing for months. “One of the things I’m really focused on is getting this done before we’re done, and I know President Obama shares my goal in doing that,” the governor said. “I’m going to be meeting with the secretary next week. Continue Reading →

Attorney General: Sanders’ email did not violate campaign finance law

Sen. Bernie Sanders

BURLINGTON — The Vermont attorney general’s office says an email from Democratic U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ encouraging supporters to contribute to a Vermont state Senate candidate’s campaign did not violate the state’s campaign finance laws. A Vermont Republican Party official had asked the attorney general’s office to investigate whether Sanders, who was running for president, made an improper campaign donation by urging email recipients to donate to Rep. Christopher Pearson’s campaign. Pearson, a member of Vermont’s Progressive Party, went on to win the Democratic nomination for one of Chittenden County’s six Senate seats in the August Primary. Democratic Attorney General William Sorrell said Tuesday that the email was not “express advocacy for the election of Pearson” so it doesn’t meet the definition of the type of speech regulated by the state statute. Continue Reading →

Minter raises more than Scott but is being outspent

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MONTPELIER — The Democratic nominee for governor out-raised her Republican opponent in the last few weeks, but was heavily outspent as the general election campaign began, according to financial disclosure reports filed by candidates and political groups Thursday. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter reported raising $102,000 in the 16 days since the last mandated reporting deadline on Aug. 15. She spent about $68,000 in the same time frame and now has about $85,000 cash-on-hand. Among Minter’s donors since winning the Democratic nominee are Jake and Donna Carpenter, of Burton Snowboards, who donated $2,700 each. Continue Reading →

RGA launches first ad supporting Phil Scott

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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 →