Vermont Archive:

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

VT-Sen: GOP Astroturf Blog Uncovered

Posted by DavidNYC

In my Blogger Spotlight interview, I made the following observation:

Q: How do you see the new media and old media affecting and influencing each other in the next five years?

A: In the traditional media, you have outlets like the New York Times and outlets like the New York Post. One is reputable, the other isn't, and everyone's figured out which is which by now. The same is true of the blogging world: You have Times-style blogs and Post-style blogs. Most bloggers try to verify what they post; some peddle in rumor. Most blogs are run by honest folks; some are run by paid shills.

My biggest concern, though, is that the traditional media will fail to distinguish between the two. I think we saw this happen in 2004 in South Dakota, where bloggers who were on campaign payrolls were wrongly treated as independent sources. When a story appears to originate in the blogosphere, traditional media reporters need to ask, "Is the source reputable? Is it a Times or a Post?" And if you can't answer in the affirmative, then pass on the story. This isn't always an easy question to answer, but one good place to start is the list of past winners of the Koufax Awards.

Who knew the next astroturf Republican blog would be discovered so quickly? Kudos to Peter Freyne of Seven Days, "Vemont's Alternative Webweekly," for sleuthing this one out (and to Kagro X for bringing it to our attention).

Posted at 06:10 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Vermont | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

VT-Gov: Douglas With a Big Lead

Posted by DavidNYC

Jim Douglas, the Republican Governor of Vermont, holds a large lead over his Democratic opponent, former state Sen. Scudder Parker, according to Rasmussen (likely voters, no trendlines):

Parker: 31
Douglas: 54
Undecided: 11
(MoE: 4.5%)

Frustrating, given how Democratic Vermont usually is. It's hard for me to see how Parker might break through at this point - Douglas is very popular (65-26 approval rating, good for 8th out of 50, according to SUSA). And ethics scandals currently devastating the national GOP are likely to leave most Republican state officials in the clear. I hate to be a pessimist, but barring some unforeseeable major changes, the VT governor's mansion may well be out of reach for us this year. Fortunately, the governor only gets to serve a two-year term, so we'll get another crack at Douglas before long.

Meanwhile, independent Bernie Sanders is cruising in his bid to replace Sen. Jim Jeffords. So it looks like the House race will be Vermont's most interesting election this year. Sanders, by the way, is backing Democrat Peter Welch, and is advising left-wing third party candidates to avoid jumping into the race.

Posted at 10:16 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Vermont | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 14, 2005

VT-AL: Doesn't Look Like Much of a Dem Primary Here

Posted by DavidNYC

The SSP Index (apologies to Harper's):

• Amount of money raised by VT Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch since announcing his bid three months ago for Vermont's open Congressional seat: $270K
• Number of potential opponents to Welch who have already dropped out: 2 (former Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin and State Sen. Matt Dunne)
• Amount of money given by Dunne to Welch after the former quit the race: $2,000
• Likelihood of Zephyr Rain Teachout entering the primary, according to political science professors: Doubtful

And that's the way it is.

Posted at 11:24 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Vermont | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 07, 2005

VT-AL: Teachout for Congress

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Can't say that I am the biggest fan of the world, but it would certainly be interesting to see an established netroots practitioner in a top-flight race.

Former state Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin opted out of a race for the U.S. House on Wednesday, potentially eliminating a Democratic primary for the seat.

Shumlin, a Putney Democrat, said he had explored entering the race to succeed Rep. Bernie Sanders, an independent who is leaving the House so he can run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. James Jeffords. [...]

There has been talk of others entering the race, including lawyer Zephyr Teachout, who gained political experience on former Gov. Howard Dean's presidential race.

There is already a Democratic candidate in the race, State Senator Peter Welch. The article really got me to thinking about how many bloggers out there would seriously consider running for something at the federal level. I can imagine that, for quite a few, there would be a great deal of support in terms of contributions and volunteers...not to mention all of the cool things we are capable of like media manipulation and open source oppo research. I hope it happens one day. I would love to work on a Chris Bowers for Congress campaign some day.

Posted at 09:45 PM in Vermont | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, June 09, 2005

VT-Sen: Doug Racine - Big Effing Mistake

Posted by Bob Brigham

I'm a mild-mannered person, polite, kind to animals, and generally easy going. I'm a proud Democrat (even proud to be a Proud Democrat), but sometimes a Democrat does something so stupid, so selfish, so counter-productive, so wrong-headed, so...anyway, just read the lede of the article in the Times Argus:

MONTPELIER — Former Lt. Gov. Doug Racine said Wednesday he is considering whether to run for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., in 2006.

"For most of us in politics the idea of a Senate seat is intriguing," said Racine, who was a Democratic state senator and candidate for governor. "I can't rule it out."

Well Racine can certainly rule out the notion that he'll be met with anything other than extreme contempt, at least from me. Ask Donnie Fowler, when I play in primaries I play to win. And I don't think I'll be alone on this, I am confident that Racine will face extreme prejudice online and in Vermont if he is selfish enough to turn this into a three-way race. Because everyone knows the score, everyone knows that if Doug Racine runs, he is running to help himself by helping the Republicans:

"In the end I think there is going to be a Democrat in that race," Racine said. "The question is, is it going to be a strong candidate?"

Jeff Weaver, Sanders' chief of staff, said there is no agreement between Sanders and the Democrats. There is an understanding by both sides that three-way races benefit Republican candidates, he said.[...]

[State GOP chairman Jim] Barnett called Racine "a credible candidate" who could draw Democrats "who otherwise might hold their nose and vote for a Republican over Bernie."

I love the wink-wink, nod-nod quote from Barnett as he tries to get Racine in the race. Everyone knows that Racine would be giving the GOP enough of an opening to force a pile of money to be spent to keep the seat from going Republican. In short, Racine's entry would be a tax on progressives, forcing the Democrats to expend critical resources in a far from efficient manner. Political players in Vermont politics get this, including the Democratic leadership:

"A three-way race gives a significant edge to the Republican," said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch, D-Windsor. "If the objective is to make sure that seat is not Republican, there is an immense amount of importance in making that a two-way race instead of a three-way race."

I don't know Racine personally, but if I were to meet him today, my attention would immediately turn to his shoes. My guess is the guy wears loafers, because if he were smart enough to tie his shoes he wouldn't even be considering this. As for me, my boots are laced up and ready to go so far up Racine's ass he'll be tasting leather.

UPDATE: Racine was the sitting LG, a Democrat in a blue state, and blew his campaign for Governor. Now he wants to go from loser to spoiler?

Posted at 10:35 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

VT-Sen: Sanders Crushing Tarrant and Dubie

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Political Wire:

A new Research 2000 poll shows Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) defeating all possible challengers in the 2006 Vermont Senate race. Sanders leads businessman Richard Tarrant (62% to 18%), Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (59% to 23%) and Major General Martha Rainville (61% to 18%).

Get used to seeing Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Posted at 11:33 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Vermont | Technorati

Monday, May 02, 2005

VT-Sen: Bernie Sanders Takes Control

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Congressman Bernie Sanders has yet to announce he's running for Vermont's open seat in the U.S. Senate, the ad to your left suggests that the campaign isn't wasting any time taking the early lead. Indeed, from The Vermont Guadian:

Sanders issued a statement less than an hour after Gov. Jim Douglas announced April 30 that he would not seek the Republican nomination to replace Jeffords. As the top GOP official in Vermont, Douglas had been courted by the White House, and key Senate Republicans, to run.

In his statement, Sanders said any GOP candidate will have to square with Vermonters why they support Pres. George Bush's domestic and foreign initiatives.

"At this point, of course we have no idea as to who the Republican candidate will be. We do know however, that whoever it will be will have to explain to Vermonters why he/she supports a Republican Leadership which gives huge tax breaks to billionaires, but cuts programs in health care, education, veteran‚s needs, and for our environment,” Sanders said. “That Republican candidate, whoever he/she may be, is going to have to explain why they support a Bush Administration which allows corporate America to send good paying jobs to China and, at the same time slashes benefits for Social Security beneficiaries as they attempt to privatize Social Security. We look forward to that debate."

Having the lead and driving the message is a powerful combination, no wonder Sanders is looking forward to the debate.

Posted at 03:56 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Saturday, April 30, 2005

VT-Sen: Sanders Frightens Douglas; Takes Huge Lead

Posted by Bob Brigham

From David Sirota:

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R) today announced he is not running in the open-seat 2006 Senate race. This is huge news, and a reflection on how Bernie Sanders has become a dominant force in Vermont and national politics. Douglas was heavily courted by the White House, with President Bush personally lobbying him to run. The fact that he declined such high-powered pleas shows just how frightened the Republicans are - and should be - of Sanders. They no doubt polled the situation, and saw just how wide and deep Sanders support is throughout the state. They understand that over the years, he has built an unrivaled following not only among progressives, but, as the Washington Post notes, also among working class conservatives who see him as a lonely voice in Washington with the guts to speak up for their economic concerns. And they understand that for millions of Americans who feel ignored by both parties, Sanders has become a powerful symbol that politicians can be successful AND represent the interests of ordinary people.

Sirota heaps some praise on MoveOn and calls on Howard Dean to hold the Sanders' coalition together by keeping it from becoming a three way race. Bernie Sanders has huge momentum now that everyone in Vermont will learn that the best the GOP could offer realized he couldn't win.

Posted at 02:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas Not for Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT) is between a rock and a hard spot. On one hand, he wants to be a U.S. Senator. On the other hand, Gov. Douglas knows he will lose if he runs against Rep. Bernie Sanders. So a lot of people are telling Douglas he'd have a better chance of holding an office if he focused on trying to get re-elected.

It sounds like we'll know what he's running for tomorrow. This has been moving rapidly, the local press has filed multiple stories in the last few hours.

The AP kicked things off:

MONTPELIER, Vt. Governor James Douglas is expected to announce tomorrow that he will seek re-election and not run for an open U-S Senate seat next year.

The governor is planning a news conference in Burlington, but the governor's top aides won't say what he plans to announce. [...]

Several political observers say since Douglas is making the announcement while the Legislature is in session it means he is sure to say he doesn't intend to run for the Senate.

And Channel 3:

Governor Jim Douglas announced today, he will make "an announcement" at an afternoon press conference at the University of Vermont.

And Channel 5:

Just nine days ago, Sen. Jim Jeffords announced he plans to retire at the end of his 18th year, in 2006.

Then, Douglas told reporters he's focusing on his job at the statehouse and has no timetable for making a decision.

That changed sometime on Friday.

Sources close to Douglas will only say that he's considered his options carefully and wanted to clear the air as soon as he could.

And back to Channel 3:

"I don't know. I guess I'll probably talk about my future political plans," he told Channel 3's Kate Duffy. Asked what they are he replied: "You'll have to come and see, Kate." Prodded for a sneak preview he smiled: "You wouldn't tell anyone, would you?"

Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vermont, announced last week he would retire instead of seeking a fourth term in Washington. Political insiders say if Douglas is making an announcement this early, it likely means he will seek re-election instead of a Senate seat.

"I'll have something to say about it tomorrow. I'm not being very helpful am I? I have to give the weekend crew something to do, right?" he joked. [...]

A decision the governor will keep secret until Saturday.

Reading through the articles, it seems to me the Vermont press corps has a problem with chain-yanking politicians. Announced an announcement? "You'll have to come and see"?

What a typical politician, thinking this is all some theatre that revolves around him. Jim Douglas doesn't get it, he especially doesn't get it on health insurance.

Posted at 01:02 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Vermont | Technorati

Friday, April 29, 2005

VT-Gov: Jim Douglas

Posted by Bob Brigham

Vermont's Republican Governor Jim Douglas is threatening to veto legislation moving through the state legislature that would provide universal health care in Vermont. Gov. Douglas has been getting negative press for parroting insurance industry lies about the bill. Why is Douglas so opposed to this bill and to expanding access to health care in general? An in-depth look at his close ties to industries that oppose health care reform offers many clues.

WITHIN WEEKS OF BEING ELECTED, DOUGLAS MOVES TO GUT HEALTH CARE: Before Douglas even took office, the Associated Press reported that he said one of his priorities will be to "scale back some of the state health care programs that have been expanded over the past several years." Specifically, Douglas said he wants to scale back laws "in which the state requires insurers to price policies regardless of an individual's health status or age" – laws that advocates point out "makes insurance more affordable for the sick." [Source: AP, 12/19/02]

DOUGLAS'S TOP AIDE WAS BUSINESS LOBBYIST WHO FOUGHT HEALTH CARE REFORMS: The Burlington Free Press reported that Douglas's Deputy Chief of Staff, Betsy Bishop, is responsible for the governor's legislative agenda. Bishop was formerly a business lobbyist who, in 2002, actively lobbied against commonsense legislation to allow small businesses to participate in the state's health-care insurance program. [Sources: Burlington Free Press, 5/5/03 and 2/5/02]

DOUGLAS'S CAMPAIGNS FUNDED WITH INSURANCE INDUSTRY CASH: In 2004, Douglas relied on $300,000 worth of potentially-illegal ads by the Republican Governors Association – an organization funded with huge contributions from the health insurance industry. Research in 2002 showed that the RGA had accepted $671,000 from the insurance industry. [Source: Vermont Democratic Party research, 10/26/04]  

DOUGLAS HAS TRIED TO HIDE HIS RELIANCE ON INSURANCE INDUSTRY CASH: In 2004, Douglas claimed "90 percent" of his campaign cash came from in-state donors. He failed to mention the $300,000 cash infusion he received from the insurance-industry funded RGA. He also failed to mention that in 2002, his campaign pocketed more than $500,000 from the national Republican Party coffers that are regularly filled with health care/insurance industry cash. [Source: Inside Track, 3/30/05]

DOUGLAS'S HYPOCRISY ON HEALTH CARE CONTRIBUTIONS: In 1998, Bond Buyer magazine reported that Douglas was pushing a bill "to prohibit lawyers from making contributions to political campaigns of public officials with whom they may do business, in order to eliminate the appearance of pay-to-play." Yet, after his campaign relied on a warchest of insurance industry cash from the national Republican Party, Douglas is now threatening to veto critical health care legislation. [Source: Bond Buyer, 7/30/98]

Posted at 04:50 PM in Vermont | Technorati

VT-Gov: Jim Douglas Taking Lots of Heat

Posted by Bob Brigham

While some discuss Vermont Governor Jim Douglas as a possible Senate candidate, with all of the trouble he's having in the press, he might have trouble holding onto his own seat.

He was blasted by the Burlington Free Press for, "removing the lone African-American member of the state's Human Rights Commission when his term expired and replacing him with a white member, thus creating the first all-white commission since its creation in 1988."

And Douglas is taking a great deal of heat for his expected veto of health insurance, from the Brattleboro Reformer:

Add it up, and the scare stories about what a government-run health system would mean ring rather hollow. Care is already being rationed, by limiting the best care to those who have the ability to pay. We are already paying more money for less health care. And we still have more than 40 million Americans who have no health insurance and are more likely to develop expensive and deadly conditions because they postpone care because they lack the money to pay for treatment.

Is this what Gov. James Douglas and the Republicans in the Legislature support? A system that works only for the fortunate few? A system that is bloated and inefficient? A system that all of us end up paying for anyway in higher consumer costs, higher taxes and higher insurance premiums?

The time is now. And again, as in so many other issues, Vermont can show the way -- but only if our leaders have the guts to do it.


Well that is something Douglas lacks. He doesn't seem to have the guts to focus on civil rights for non-whites. He doesn't seem to have the guts to solve Vermont's health care crisis.

With how out-of-touch he is, it is a wonder that people are even talking about him getting another office.

Posted at 09:52 AM in Vermont | Technorati

Monday, April 25, 2005

VT-Sen: MoveOn and Bernie Sanders

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last Friday I wrote about MoveOn's email to Vermont members asking if the organization should back Congressman Bernie Sanders for Vermont's open Senate seat.

The results where overwhelming...

Here is the email sent by MoveOn:

Dear MoveOn member in Vermont,

On Friday, we asked you if you thought it was a good idea for MoveOn to help Bernie Sanders, the independent Congressman, run for Jim Jeffords' Senate seat in 2006. (Senator Jeffords is retiring.)

Well, the results are in: out of the folks who responded, 96% of you think that we should join together to send Congressman Sanders to the Senate. You're willing to put your time and money where your mouth is, too – thousands of you volunteered to help with the campaign, and together you said you'd contribute over $135,000. (And that's just MoveOn members in Vermont, since Friday!)

Since we're in the middle of our emergency campaign on judicial nominations, it may be a few weeks before we're able to raise money for Sanders from our whole base. But with your strong endorsement, we're moving forward, and we'll be in touch soon. Together, we'll make sure that Vermont sends a real progressive to the Senate in 2006.

–Eli, Noah, Ben, Joan and the MoveOn PAC Team
April 25th, 2005

96% -- that is larger than the percentage of people who like chocolate.

This race is moving very rapidly, here is the recap on the scramble.

Posted at 10:02 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, April 23, 2005

VT-Sen: Scramble for Open Seat

Posted by Bob Brigham

On Wednesday, Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords announced he would not seek re-election. The resulting scramble has launched a domino effect throughout Vermont's political world, potentially opening up seats all the way down to the local level. In 72 hours, a lot has changed in Vermont.

Representative Bernie Sanders has moved the fastest. Within the first 24 hours, he ensured that Democrats coalesced around his candidacy which will prevent a viable threat of a three way race. Within 48 hours, Sanders was on the phone with bloggers, locking down the endorsement of Vermont legend, Blogfather Jerome Armstrong. Today, David Sirota (the go-to guy for all things Sanders), has a must read post: Who is Bernie Sanders? When it comes to quick reaction and real-time politics, Sanders is setting the pace.

With Sanders locking down the support of Independents and Democrats, the only question is who will jump in the GOP primary. Much of the action in the GOP primary will occur after a decision by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

Kos says:

There is no one in Vermont as popular as Sanders. And while Bush and Rove pressure Republican Governor Jim Douglas to enter the fray (the only Republican with a hint of a chance), Douglas isn't suicidal. Or stupid.

Political State Report seems to agree:

Jim Douglas will be urged to run but he is very cautious and would have a hard time beating the popular Bernie and so he will not run. I expect Brian Dubie our Republican Lieutenant Governor to run for the senate. He would be the only Republican to have any chance. I think he is too right wing to win. If he does not run, then millionaire Jack McMullen will try again to buy the seat.

David Sirota examines Douglas's liabilities, including his close ties to President Bush (who is hated in Vermont) and his support for Social Security Privatization (which is hated everywhere, but especially so in Vermont).

As I listed before, the subscription only Hotline lists the follow potential GOP candidates:

Aud. Randy Brock
'92 nominee/Gov. Jim Douglas
LG Brian Dubie
Ex-House Speaker Walt Freed
'98 candidate/'04 nominee Jack McMullen
'04 House nominee/ex-USAF pilot Greg Parke
IDX Systems Corp. CEO Richard Tarrant

The Republican Party is justifiably scared shitless of what Congressman Sanders could do to them if he wins. But conventional wisdom already says that the GOP's best case candidate would be facing such intimidating odds that he won't even run.

Senator Bernie Sanders -- it has a nice ring to it.

Posted at 03:13 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Friday, April 22, 2005

VT-Sen: Will MoveOn Back Bernie Sanders?

Posted by Bob Brigham

As a Yellow Dog Democrat, I did some soul searching about whether I should support Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders for Vermont's open Senate seat. After about 3 seconds, I decided that I would be supporting Bernie Sanders for Senate with my time and money.

MoveOn is in a similiar situation and I hope will come to the same conclusion. Today, MoveOn sent an email to their Vermont list asking for help deciding whether to back Sanders. The email directed people here:

Should MoveOn back Bernie?
On Thursday, Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid told the press the he though having Independent representative Bernie Sanders run for Senate would be “good for Vermont and good for the country.” Rep. Sanders has been a hero on many of MoveOn’s issues, and if he becomes the consensus candidate quickly and is able to raise enough money, he could keep Gov. Douglas out of the race.

So, should MoveOn raise money to send Rep. Sanders to the Senate? We don’t pretend to know Vermont politics as well as you do, so we’re turning to you to help make this important decision.

I appreciate the fact that MoveOn is getting feedback from their large list of Vermont supporters. If you are a MoveOn member in Vermont, you should give them your thoughts.

UPDATE: Vermont's Jerome Armstrong jumped on the bandwagon. David Sirota is already raising money.

Posted at 05:35 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Netroots, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Thursday, April 21, 2005

VT-Sen: Cattle Call

Posted by Bob Brigham

With Senator Jim Jeffords seeking not running for re-election, Vermont's open seat will be closely followed by Swing State Project. From what I've read, Democrats are excited about Bernie Sanders, coalescing around his candidacy.

Indeed, Sanders is best positioned for victory and his campaign is likely to activate a nationwide network of progressives desperate to have a vote against unanimous consent.

The full Cattle Call, from the subscription only Hotline:

A complete list of potential candidates mentioned in today's coverage:

Rep. Bernie Sanders

Aud. Randy Brock
'92 nominee/Gov. Jim Douglas
LG Brian Dubie
Ex-House Speaker Walt Freed
'98 candidate/'04 nominee Jack McMullen
'04 House nominee/ex-USAF pilot Greg Parke
IDX Systems Corp. CEO Richard Tarrant

'94 nominee/'00 candidate/ex-state Sen. Jan Backus
'04 GOV nominee/Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle
'00 nominee/ex-Aud./state Sen. Ed Flanagan
Sec/State Deb Markowitz
VT Nat'l Guard Maj. Gen. Martha Rainville
'02 GOV nominee/ex-LG Doug Racine
'04 LG nominee/ex-state Sen. Cheryl Rivers
'02 LG nominee/ex-state Sen. Pres. Peter Shumlin
AG Bill Sorrell
Treas. Jeb Spaulding
'90 GOV nominee/state Sen. Maj. Leader Peter Welch

Posted at 02:32 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Vermont Archive: