Tag Archives: Jack Lindley

Snelling apologizes to Lisman, but says he believes CFV founder’s gubernatorial hopes are real

Hours after alleging publicly that Campaign for Vermont founder Bruce Lisman has his eyes on governor’s seat, Mark Snelling apologized to the former Wall Street executive for the “mistake.”

In an email to Lisman Thursday night, Snelling wrote:


I owe you an apology.

I was doing an interview and I was trying to make a point about future elections and the dynamics of the various parties and how they can interact along with possible third parties.

To make my point, I spoke about your organization and made statements about which I have no first-hand knowledge.
It was a discussion where CFV was a tangent and I should not have gone down that tangent.

It was a mistake and I apologize.


The mea culpa arrived in Lisman’s in-box at about 8:15 p.m., about two hours after Snelling’s claims were broadcast in a news bit on this site.

“The reality is that within the last eight weeks, Bruce Lisman has considered running for governor,” Snelling said Thursday afternoon. “He’s had a budget put in front of him, saying that it would cost $3.2 million to run for governor. And he sat through a three to four-hour meeting and thought about it and looked at all sides of it and decided against it.”

Snelling, who confirmed this morning that he sent the apology to Lisman last night, said he stands by his assertion about Lisman’s gubernatorial aspirations.

“I fully believe that what I said was true,” Snelling said this morning.

But Snelling said he felt that the story was devoid of the context in which he’d made the comments. Snelling said that if Lisman chose to pull the trigger on a bid, then he would, as Snelling understands it, run as an Independent. And as part of that candidacy, Snelling said, Campaign for Vermont would send an emissary to the Vermont Republican Party, and prevail upon the organization to leave the top of the ticket open to give Lisman a one-on-one shot against Shumlin.

Snelling said he thinks that could be terrible for the party. And he said it’s a potentially relevant piece of information as it relates to the current battle for the GOP chairmanship between David Sunderland – the choice of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott – and John MacGovern, who is favored by Snelling and outgoing incumbent Jack Lindley.

As a member of Campaign for Vermont, Snelling said, David Sunderland might be willing to leave the top of the Republican ticket open for Lisman, lest he split the conservative vote with an ‘R.’

(Snelling had earlier called Sunderland a “founding” member of CFV – a designation given by the group to its earliest members. But according to CFV, Sunderland isn’t a founding member,  but a “partner,” as the organization refers to its regular members.)

Fueling his concern, Snelling said, was Scott’s lack of public enthusiasm for the last Republican gubernatorial candidate, on whose behalf Scott, the most popular Republican in Vermont, seemed uninterested in stumping for on the campaign trail.

Snelling, Lindley, and Darcie Johnston, a longtime Republican operative and a part of their inner circle, have amped up their criticism of Scott in recent days for what they say is his too-cozy relationship with the Democratic governor.

The noise about a Lisman run, combined with Sunderland’s ties to the man, combined with Scott’s perceived ambivalence toward Republican candidates, Senlling said, make him wary of putting Sunderland and Scott in charge of the party’s statewide apparatus.

“I felt like my comment about Bruce ended up out of context of that initial discussion,” Snelling said.

Whatever the context, Snelling said he “felt badly” about bringing Lisman “into a greater discussion about the party when I could have made my point more effectively by speaking in more general terms.”

“I’ve had a relationship with Bruce for many years,” Snelling said. “And I very much value that relationship.”

Lindley will not seek re-election to Vt GOP leadership post

Jack Lindley

Jack Lindley

MONTPELIER — Vermont Republican Party Chairman Jack Lindley said Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to the post and will instead back John MacGovern.
Lindley had been considering a bid to remain chairman despite a recent illness that left him hospitalized for about a month. He was released from the hospital and returned home last week.
As recently as Wednesday morning, political allies including Mark Snelling, the GOP’s treasurer, said Lindley was planning on trying to retain his chairmanship at the party’s state convention Saturday.
“Yes, it’s my expectation that he’s going to run,” Snelling said Wednesday morning.
But Wednesday evening Lindley announced via email his intention to step aside and back MacGovern, best known for losing to independent Sen. Bernard Sanders last fall.
“I’m writing to let you know that although my recovery is going well, I will not be a candidate for Chairman of the Vermont Republican Party. My time and energy is best spent working on building my strength and fully recovering,” Lindley wrote.
For more on this story, read it in the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus on Thursday.

Vt. GOP struggle: Go moderate? Or stay the course of conservative?

Phill Scott

Phil Scott

They’ve descended to super-minority status in both the House and Senate, and lay claim to just one of Vermont’s six statewide offices.

By the numbers at least, the once-dominant Vermont Republicans have reached a new low in their years-long fall from grace. Their fight for the future, however, is being waged not with the Democrats that so embarrassed them in the last two election cycles, but among fellow Republicans vying against each other for control of the party’s organizational apparatus.

The emergence of two factions — one led by Vermont Republican Party Chairman Jack Lindley, the other by Lt. Gov. Phil Scott — has pitted the old-guard GOP against a cadre of upstart reformists looking to put some distance between themselves and the Republican National Committee.

As a group led by Scott pieces together a statewide re-branding strategy aimed at picking up the centrists and Independents he says have been turned off by the party in recent years, Lindley and others are beginning to push back against a plan that would, in Lindley’s words, “turn its back on the national party.”

“I’m not about to go down the road of trying to have a party in Vermont that’s Democrat-lite,” Lindley said in an interview last week.
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As Shumlin sounds alarm over sequestration, GOP chairman urges calm

As Congress inches closer to the brink, lawmakers and administration officials in Vermont are beginning to sound the alarm over the financial impacts of sequestration. But Jack Lindley, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, says it’s much ado about nothing.

“There’s very, very little evidence that would indicate the sky is going to fall,” Lindley said this afternoon. “I think things are being terribly overblown.”

A report put out by the White House last week enumerates the financial impacts of sequestration on Vermont. Across-the-board cuts to human services, public safety, education, health care and the military will see a reduction in federal revenue of at least $9 million over the next seven months, according to the White House projections. And that figure doesn’t capture the dollar effect of furloughs or job losses for the thousands of federal employees that call Vermont home.

For a complete list of the Vermont-specific impacts, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Vermont.pdf

But Lindley said Vermont can more than withstand the looming cuts. He said the “cuts,” after all, are actually reductions in rates of increase.

“There’s going to be very minimal damage,” he says.

Lindley said he’d like to see the D’s and R’s get together and cut a deal. But he said it needs to include at least as significant a spending cut as the one awaiting the country if they do nothing. If Vermont and the U.S. can’t absorb the kinds of spending reductions associated with sequestration, Lindley said, then we’re all doomed anyway.

“This is exactly what needs to happen if we’re going to get ourselves where we’re not borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we’re spending at the federal level,” Lindley said. “If we can’t get this accomplished, lord help us all in terms of what it means for our kids and grandkids.”

With only a week until Election Day, pols cede center stage to Sandy

A storm named Sandy may have relegated politics to the backburner for at least a couple days, but don’t expect politicians to batten down the hatches on their campaigns.

With only a week until Election Day, retail politics is in full swing. And Republican candidate for governor Randy Brock today said he won’t let Sandy take the wind out of his sails.

“I always get the best responses at sign waves or other events when it’s snowing and the wind is blowing,” Brock said. “People know you want the job and are willing to endure some discomfort to get it.”

As a practical matter, the storm will force some rescheduling. Incumbent Treasurer Beth Pearce was to have received a high-profile endorsement earlier this morning from former Gov. Howard Dean. The Democrat’s campaign called reporters Sunday evening to say the Statehouse event had been postponed until later in the week.

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GOP chairman now alleging election fraud by Shumlin, Progs

He doesn’t have any evidence to support the claim, other than the somewhat bizarre circumstances surrounding the apparently erroneous counting of votes in the Progressive gubernatorial primary. But Jack Lindley, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, just fired off a press release  alleging “collusion” between Gov. Peter Shumlin and Progressive candidate Martha Abbott.

Lindley says he’ll withhold the Republican signature on today’s updated report from the canvassing committee. The committee is, at Jim Condos’ behest, recertifying results in the Prog gubernatorial primary. The new results show Martha Abbott winning by a single vote over anti-mountaintop-wind activist Annette Smith. Smith has said she’ll request a recount.

Look for more from Press Bureau reporter David Taube in tomorrow’s editions of the Times Argus and Rutland Herald. Meantime, Lindley’s screed:

“I am withholding the Republican signature on today’s canvas report of the August 28 primary. This entire process has served to cast doubt on the validity, accuracy and accountability of the Secretary of State’s office and the whole election process.
It suggests collusion between the Shumlin campaign and the Progressive party nominee, who has miraculously has been declared a winner by a suspect process, who has now announced she didn’t really want the nomination after all; a person who has since declared she will decline a nomination she won in favor of Governor Shumlin. 
I will not allow our Republican vote to validate a process that does not pass the smell test.”

Bertrand leaves GOP post, party coffers sapped

Mike Bertrand ended his short stint as executive director of the Vermont Republican Party last week, departing the post to dedicate more time to his private consulting business.

Bertrand succeeded Pat McDonald last November, but said growing demands on his time meant he “couldn’t in good faith” stay on as the party’s executive chief.

“I’d kind of bitten off more than I could chew,” Bertrand said. “But I absolutely plan to stay involved in the party. In fact I was at the (GOP’sMontpelier) office for a couple hours (Thursday).”

Bertrand hadn’t been paid since the beginning of the year, according to GOP Chairman Jack Lindley. An ebb in fundraising, Lindley said, has temporarily sapped the party’s accounts. Lindley said he intends to deliver Bertrand his back pay, though Bertrand said it really isn’t a big deal.

“Trust me,” Bertrand said. “It isn’t a lot of money and I’m not worried about it.”

Lindley said he’ll stand in as the party’s chief communications officer until the organization brings on a new executive. Lindley said he’s trying to raise enough money to fund the party through the 2012 election cycle.

“Obviously there’s a lot going on this summer, and we’ve got to figure out our configuration in terms of field personnel,” Lindley said. “We’re in a cycle right now where we’re in a little bit of a lull, fundraising-wise, but I’m working on that right now.”

O’Keefe video renews debate over voter ID laws

A video that surfaced today purporting to show voter fraud inVermont last Tuesday has elicited dueling responses from the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties.

The video, reportedly produced by James O’Keefe, the conservative activist who won infamy for his undercover videos of ACORN offices, will undoubtedly reignite the old debate over voter identification laws.

That debate began Tuesday evening as Jack Lindley, chairman of the Vermont GOP, and Jesse Bragg, executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party, lauded and lambasted O’Keefe’s alleged evidence of voter fraud.

“It does expose flaws in the whole system, in my judgment,” Lindley said. “And it should give us all concern about the integrity of the voting system.”

Lindley had asked Secretary of State Jim Condos to investigate voter-checklist “irregularities” inBurlingtoneven before O’Keefe’s video hit the internet Tuesday. He said he had no inkling what O’Keefe was up to, but that the video footage only cements his concerns.

“If we have to show identification to get on an airplane, we surely ought to have to show ID at the ballot,” Lindley said. “I don’t think regular old Vermonters like me need to have the concern that there are people voting in elections that aren’t (registered voters).”

Bragg said the only evidence of voter fraud he’s ever seen is in the video that surfaced Tuesday. A gimmicky ruse designed to play on irrational fears about voter fraud, eh said, shouldn’t be used as basis to impose new restrictions on voting.

“He’s a radical right-wing activist and he is presenting a problem that doesn’t exist,” Bragg said.

Bragg saidVermontalready has law prohibiting the kind of behavior portrayed in the video. Adopting new laws that require residents to show proof of identification with a driver’s license or other state-sanctioned document, Bragg said, will disenfranchise marginalized sectors of society.

“Anything that requires a voter to travel somewhere, to pay a registration fee, or to take any extra step besides going to the polls, is a form of disenfranchisement,” Bragg said. “Any time you have to get an ID renewed and pay a fee, it becomes a poll tax. The point of our democracy is everyone has an equal vote, and the second we start putting restrictions on our right to vote is the second we start valuing one person’s vote over another’s.”