Shortly after 11 p.m., Lt. Gov. Phil Scott said he accepted Gekas’ concession in the race.
“We were a well-oiled machine,” he said, calling his campaign creative, positive and issues-driven.
He said although he was successful and other Republican candidates weren’t, they should hold their heads high as they left the building.
The well-funded pro-single-payer group called “Vermont Leads” has launched its own political action committee.
Funded entirely by an out-of-state union, Vermont Leads earlier this summer aired a six-figure ad blitz urging voters to support single-payer. More recently, the group won headlines for picketing outside the Burlington home of Lenore Broughton, who has poured at least $680,000 of her own money into getting Republicans elected next Tuesday.
With Nov. 6 fast approaching, Vermont Leads has turned its focus from issue advocacy to electioneering, launching a PAC that is separate from the tax-exempt nonprofit that aired the TV ads.
Mass media filings submitted yesterday to the secretary of state’s office show that Vermont Leads PAC has spent about $13,000 on a series of mailings supporting statewide and local candidates.
Democratic candidates Cassandra Gekas (lite guv), Doug Hoffer (auditor), Peter Shumlin and Beth Pearce (treasurer) are all featured in the postcards.
The group is pushing five candidates for Senate – they look to be paying special attention to Franklin County and the Northeast Kingdom. The group is also supporting 14 candidates for the House.
Peter Sterling, executive director of Vermont Leads, has been up front from the beginning about the source of the group’s money. The Service Employees International Union doesn’t have a single member in Vermont, but says it’s underwriting the single-payer advocacy because its believes that if Vermont can pull off single-payer, then the program will spread to other states where it does have members.
Some view the SEIU’s interest in single-payer as a ploy to win the political clout it will need to pass a labor bill next year that would allow it to enlist more than 5,000 home-care workers in Vermont.
We posed 5 questions to the candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Cassandra Gekas and Republican Phil Scott. Their answers, provided by email, are below.
Q: It’s April of 2014, and the sitting governor passes away before he was to sign into law a controversial bill with which you disagree vehemently. After being sworn in to serve out the remainder of the term, would you sign the bill? Or use your executive power to prevent it from becoming law?
Phil Scott: If I were ever to find myself in this unfortunate position, I would take a page from the Howard Dean playbook and respect the process. I think it would be important during that time of crisis to establish a sense of consistency. So, to answer the question, I might not sign the bill, but I would not use my executive power to veto it, either. (If the governor does nothing with a bill that crosses his or her desk, the bill becomes law.)
Cassandra Gekas: As an elected official, there are times when you must weigh your personal values against the recommendations of your colleagues or what is politically popular. In Vermont, where the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately, this can be particularly difficult when the two leaders do not have a shared vision for the future of our state. Continue reading
The Vermont Employees’ Association announced Tuesday the following endorsements, which included Democratic candidate Cassandra Gekas for lieutenant governor, Republican candidate Vince Illuzzi for auditor, and Progressive Party candidate Ed Stanak for attorney general.
Other nominations included Democratic candidates Gov. Peter Shumlin, Secretary of State Jim Condos and state Treasurer Beth Pearce.
Pearce was appointed to the position but has significantly outraised her opponent, Wendy Wilton, the Rutland City treasurer.
VSEA President John Reese said in a news release members of the nonprofit labor union, which according to its website represents more than 8,000 state workers, will focus efforts on the governor’s race as well as the treasurer and attorney general races.
“Treasurer Beth Pearce has been a great friend to VSEA members, especially in her articulate and educated defense of state employees’ defined benefit pension plans,” said Reese. “Unlike her opponent, Treasurer Pearce understands the many pitfalls inherent in switching state employees from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.”
The Democrats’ 30-year-old candidate for lieutenent governor took in about $8,000 over the last month, bringing her haul for the cycle to about $15,000.
Gekas said she has an additional $27,000 or so in pledges, and that she expects the war chest grow at a faster clip after the passage of an Aug. 28 primary that has commanded most of Democrats’ attention this summer.
Gekas said she’ll be bringing on a paid fundraiser next week, which should also help bring in the dollars she’ll need to get her name in front of Vermonters. No word yet on Phil Scott’s latest numbers. The Republican incumbent had taken in about $31,000 as of mid-July.