Tag Archives: Phil Scott

Scott tops $200,000 in contributions

Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott reported raising $38,000 during the latest campaign finance reporting period. That brings his total contributions for the campaign to $202,000. He has spent about $150,000 so far.

Read the report below:

Shumlin, Milne and Sorrell secure nominations

MONTPELIER — Tuesday’s primary was marked by low voter turnout and slow, tedious counting by election officials as they sorted through many ballots with write in votes.

Few Vermonters exercised their right to vote in the state’s primary Tuesday in which candidates looked to secure their party’s nominations for the general election in November. Clerks around the state reported a paltry showing from voters.

Most town and city clerks were expected to be counting and tallying results late into the night, well past deadline, thanks to aggressive write in campaigns waged by Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano and Dean Corren, a Progressive running for lieutenant governor.

On the GOP ballot, gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne was declared the winner by the Associated Press just after 8 p.m. He defeated Republicans Emily Peyton and Steve Berry, and fended off the write in challenge by Feliciano.

With just 79, or 29 percent of the state’s 275 precincts reporting results at 8:45 p.m., Milne had tallied 70 percent of the vote, far ahead of both Peyton and Berry who both had about 6 percent. Write in votes, presumably most with Feliciano’s name, accounted for 17.5 percent of the reported votes.

Town and city clerks were mandated to report results to the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday night with the number of write in votes cast, but were not required to declare for whom those write in votes were cast.

“I’m very pleased to win. I was not surprised, I guess, but I think the low turnout could have been bad for me. My sense is that if there was a larger turnout my margin would have been higher,” Milne said. “Overall, I thought it was good for Vermont and I think it gives me a little more name recognition going into November, so I’m thankful for my opponents for that.”

Milne will now pivot from the primary to focus on defeating incumbent Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who easily won his party’s nomination Tuesday. Milne said he will make the case that Shumlin has had “a really bad performance over the last four years.”

“We need to present ourselves as a credible alternative to Gov. Shumlin and I think we will do very well in the fall,” he said.

Corren was asking voters to write him in on the Democratic primary ballot to help him secure the nomination for both the Progressive and Democratic Parties. He will need at least 250 write in votes on the Democratic ballot for the party to endorse him. However, some party stalwarts, including Democratic Sens. Dick Mazza, Dick Sears and John Campbell, have endorsed the popular Republican incumbent Phil Scott.

As of 8:45 p.m., 1,245 write in votes had been cast, but it was unclear for whom. Some Democrats had pledged to write in Scott on the Democratic ballot in a bid to thwart Corren.

In the Democratic primary for governor, Shumlin was declared the winner early on by the Associated Press. He was way out ahead of challenger H. Brooke Paige. Shumlin had 76 percent of the vote to Paige’s 17 percent.

Paige was also badly trailing incumbent Attorney General William Sorrell, also declared a winner by the AP, in that position’s primary. Sorrell had 79 percent to Paige’s 20 percent.

The race for the Republican nomination for U.S. representative was too close to call. With 92 precincts reporting, Mark Donka and Donald Russell were separated by one vote and had 34 percent of the vote each. Donald Nolte had tallied 27 percent of the vote.

Turnout, as expected, was extremely low. The percentage of registered voters that cast ballots Tuesday was unknown Tuesday night, but looked like it could be one of the worst showings in recent history.

In Barre Town, by 2:30 p.m. only 227 voters had cast ballots out of a possible 5,464 voters on the checklist, according to Town Clerk Donna Kelty.

“It’s been realy, really, slow here,” Kelty said. “We rarely have great turnout for primary elections In our municipality it was the first day of school so people had other things on their minds.”

In Bennington, both of the town’s House districts featured a contest on the Democratic ballot. In the Bennington 2-2 district, four Democrats were running for two spots on the November ballot. Results were not available as of 8:45 p.m.

Still, not even that contested race with well-known candidates could drive voters to the polls in large numbers.

“It doesn’t look like it’s huge,” Town Clerk Timothy Corcoran said about turnout. “Even with those it’s not real huge.”

Corcoran said a lack of contested statewide races on the Democratic side was a major reason for the lack of interest among voters.

“There’s no real statewide races. Nobody votes in the Republican primary,” he said.

Kelty said the state’s late August primary is a main reason for the low turnout. Moving the primary to earlier in the year would like boost turnout, she said.

“I would agree 100 percent with that. If I could pick and choose I think a good time for a primary would be mid-June,” Kelty said. “That would allow ample time for the secretary of state’s office to prepare ballots for the general election.”

neal.goswami@timesargus.com

In speech at GOP fundraiser, Christie offers self up as “blueprint” for Republican resurgence

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (courtesy photo)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (courtesy photo)

“Candidates matter.”

That was the message from the Republican governor of New Jersey Wednesday night as he regaled nearly 700 members of the Vermont GOP with the story of his own unlikely rise to prominence in a state where politics tend to run the same shade of blue as in Vermont.

“Here’s our message: candidates matter. Candidates matter more than money. Candidates matter more than data mining… Candidates matter more than TV commercials and they matter more than mail pieces and they matter more than those incredibly annoying automated phone calls. They matter more than any of that,” Christie said Wednesday.

Media were barred from attending Wednesday’s fundraising gala at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, but an audio recorder belonging to the Vermont Press Bureau made it past the gates. In addition to Christie, the recording captured speeches delivered by Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, who were among the lead organizers of an event they say marked the dawn of a new era in the Vermont Republican Party. Continue reading

Sunderland elected chairman of GOP, promises to “change the way we do business”

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo  Former Rutland Town representative David Sunderland gives a speech before being elected chair of the Vermont Republican Party during their convention in Montpelier Nov. 9.

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo
Former Rutland Town representative David Sunderland gives a speech before being elected chair of the Vermont Republican Party during their convention in Montpelier Nov. 9.

Escalating discord within the Vermont Republican Party came to a head Saturday in Montpelier, where the organization’s state committee rebuked current leadership by selecting a new chairman who promises “to rebuild.”

Former Rutland Town Rep. David Sunderland won a decisive victory over John MacGovern on a platform that hews to the fiscal issues – taxes, health care and spending – on which he said all Republicans can agree.

The race between Sunderland and MacGovern was in many ways a proxy war between two factions that have been battling for nearly a year now. And it represents a win for a bloc of disaffected Republicans who faulted outgoing chairman Jack Lindley for his allegiance to a Republican National Committee whose social conservatism, they said, repelled the centrists that swing elections Vermont.

“At this critical, pivotal moment in our party’s history, we have a unique opportunity to change,” Sunderland told the nearly 200 GOP diehards crowded into the Elks Club in Montpelier. “We can change the way we do business, shedding the past legacies of top-down management and opting instead for teamwork, openness and transparency.”

Candidates for positions on the party’s governing board offered kind words to Lindley, who nearly died last month after falling suddenly ill. But their remarks about the state of the party amounted to a stinging indictment of his tenure. Continue reading

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:

Bruce,

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.

Mark

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.”

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.
Continue reading

Phil Scott sworn in to second term

The lone Republican elected to statewide office in November took his oath of office in the Senate this morning. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the Barre-born race car driver now in his second term, lamented a brain drain that has, according to the U.S. Census, seen the population of people aged 25-44 in Vermont shrink by 30 percent over the past decade.

“That’s 28,000 Vermonters who left our state and took with them their buying power, their innovation and their children,” Scott said. “Many of our classrooms echo with their absence.”

Scott said the loss of people in their prime earning years contributed to a fiscal erosion that saw state revenues suffer year-over-year declines between 2008 and 2011.

“We can reduce expenses by cutting staff and programs, and we can increase revenues by raising taxes and fees,” Scott said. “And for better or worse, we’ve already done a lot of both.”

But like the state’s Democratic governor, Scott said, he believes Vermonters are “tapped out an taxed out.”

Scott said Vermont needs to grow its way out of the problem, thereby solving “both sides of the balance sheet at the same time.”

He offered no specific plans for sparking the number of jobs or the wages they pay.

“If we can work with businesses both small and large … progress and prosperity will come,” he said. “If we can entice young professionals to move here, our classrooms will fill up again and so will our vacant storefronts and government coffers.”

Senate waits with bated breath for 2013 committee assignments

The palace intrigue continues today in the Senate, where a rumored shake-up in some key committee chairwomanships has set off a wave of speculation about who will end up where.

Sen. Dick Mazza, one of three members on the powerful ” Committee on Committees,” said he, Senate Pro Tem John Campbell and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott are hoping to ink a final roster by Thursday. They’ll probably announce the decisions to members on Friday morning – “so they have assignments before they go home for the weekend,” Mazza said.

The Friday news drop serves another key function: giving spurned senators 72 hours to ice their brusied egos before returning to Montpelier for the first full week of the session.

“There are going to be some happy folks and some unhappy folks,” Mazza said this morning. “But you deal with it and within a week or so people usually move on.”

Mazza, Campbell and Scott – the lite guv always gets a spot on the committee on committees – have been working for weeks on a roster of committee assignments. Sen. Ginny Lyons, longtime chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, is rumored to be on the chopping block – she had earlier this year pondered a run against Campbell for pro tem.

Sen. Ann Cummings won’t continue as chairwoman of Senate Finance – she requested last month to be pulled from the plum assignment, something that likely would have happened anyway given her very public dressing-down of Campbell at a Senate caucus last month.

Vince Illuzzi’s departure fom the body opens up another chairmanship in the Committee on Economic Development, House and General Affairs.

The Committee on Committees has done a pretty good job keeping people guessing – some of the senators who will be most directly impacted by its chioces still don’t know what’s coming. It’s the kind of inside baseball that no one who works outside Montpelier will probably care much about, but the committee compositions will signal changes in the Senate’s evolving power dynamic, and could have an effect on prospects for some key pieces of legislation.

Scott retains the key Republican stronghold seat

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 Candidates Speak: Lt. Governor’s Race

Cassandra Gekas

Cassandra Gekas

Phill Scott

Phil Scott

 

 

 

 

 

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

Brock, Scott condemn Akin remarks

Like their GOP colleagues everywhere else, Vermont’s highest-profile Republicans sought to distance themselves Tuesday from the now infamous comments of Missouri Congressman Todd Akin.

In a press release fired off to news outlets this afternoon, Republican candidate for governor Randy Brock condemned the remarks as “ignorant, offensive and insensitive.”

“They are insulting to all of us, but particularly to women, victims of rape and their loved ones,” Brock said of comments by the Missouri Senate candidate. “His hurtful comments have no place in civil political discourse today. Mr. Akin should put aside his personal political ambitions and step aside.”

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott used his  Facebook page to sound off.

“Much as I hate to draw even more attention to it, I do feel compelled to say, in response to Todd Akin’s ignorant remark: how can you even put ‘legitimate’ and ‘rape’ in the same sentence?” Scott posted.
 
Vermont Democrats aren’t wasting the controversy. In a press release sent out this morning, Vermont Democratic Party Chairman Jake Perkinson spotlighted a pro-life provision in the Republican platform up for approval this week at the party’s national convention in Tampa, Fla.  
The language –  “(an) unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life that cannot be infringed” – isn’t new, and has long been part of the GOP plank.
“After the continued anti-women rhetoric we’ve seen by the national GOP, I call on Vermont Republican delegates to disclose how they will vote on the ‘human life amendment’ and tell Vermonters whether or not they stand with women,” Perkinson said. “We can ask our Vermont Republicans to condemn willful, misogynistic ignorance instead of stand with the deplorable commentary made by their national figureheads.”
Both Brock – a delegate to the Tampa convention – and Scott long ago came out as pro-choice. Both support parental notification laws.
 

Shumlin, Donovan earn nod from firefighters

The Professional Firefighters of Vermont unveiled endorsements today in statewide races, and true to Vermont form, the 300-member organization wasn’t afraid to split the ticket.

Democrats Peter Shumlin, TJ Donovan, Beth Pearce and Jim Condos won endorsements for their bids for governor, attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state, respectively.

Republicans Phil Scott and Vince Illuzzi, meanwhile, will get the union’s support in their candidacies for lieutenant governor and state auditor. 

The group is known to hit the phones hard for their chosen candidates, and could provide a key lift in close races.

From the release:

The Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont gathered for their 2012 Biennial Convention at the Sheraton in South Burlington. The highlight of the convention was the PFFV endorsement of the candidacy of Peter Shumlin for Governor.
 
Speaking about the endorsement, PFFV President Mathew Vinci stated: “The nearly 300 members Professional Fire Fighters from across Vermont are proud to stand with Governor Shumlin and to support his candidacy for a second term.  Throughout his first time, and during long political career in Vermont Governor Shumlin demonstrated time and again his strong leadership on the issues important to our members.  We look forward to his reelection and to partnering with him in his second term.”
 
At the convention the PFFV also endorsed candidates for Auditor, Attorney General, Treasurer, Secretary of State and Lt. Governor.  Speaking about this slate of candidates Vinci stated:  “Our slate of endorsed statewide candidates distinguish themselves as leaders in Vermont and supporters of our members and their families.  Vince Illuzzi, TJ Donovan, Beth Pearce, Jim Condos, and Phil Scott all recognize the essential roll our members play in keeping Vermonters safe and we know will all continue to be champions for our cause when elected.”
 
The Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont are a statewide union that represents Paid Professional Fire Fighters, Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians across Vermont.

Scott off guard

Phil Scott has won a reputation over the years as being a pretty diplomatic guy. Tactful. Even-keeled. Gets along well with others.

His delicacy was on display last Thursday, when a gaggle of tourists wandered onto the Senate floor.

The chamber had recently emptied out after a long floor debate and Scott, still standing at the dais from which he presides over the body, was kind of enough to field a few questions from the curious crowd. Top of mind for the group: the alleged “dysfunction” in the Senate they’d read about recently.

The lieutenant governor thought a moment before reflecting on the lengthy, contentious flood debates that have characterized this year’s session.

“I think it’s an indication – pause – we have different – longer pause – it’s unique,” Scott finally said. “We have a lot of people here from all different walks of life. We have a trial attorney, we have a professor from UVM, we have a former ambassador from Croatia,” Scott said, referring to Sens. Joe Benning, Philip Baruth and Peter Galbraith.

The three senators belong to a loquacious class of freshmen legislators that has been cited by Senate President John Campbell as one of the reasons for the perceived chaos in the chamber.

At this point in the conversation, Scott got a well-timed assist from Steve Marshall, assistant Senate secretary.

“Some very strong minded-individuals,” Marshall said.

Scott: “And they want to be heard”

Marshall: “And they are.”

Scott: “And some don’t always understand the rules of the Senate, so when they get trampled on a bit, other people bring up points of order.”

The long and the short of it, Scott said, is that “the debate has been unlike any I’ve seen over last 10 years.”