Daily Archives: August 27, 2014

Darcie Johnston and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Pity the poor Hackster. The spectacularly unsuccessful campaign consultant went down in flames yesterday — not once, but twice.

See, it was primary day in both Vermont and Arizona, and Johnston had a horse in both races. Sickly, hobbled, glue-factory material horses, but horses nonetheless. And both of ’em came up short. Badly.

In the Eastern Time Zone, her man Dan Feliciano barely rounded the first turn before Scott Milne crossed the finish line in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Feliciano will still have the Libertarian spot to keep him warm at night, and at least he didn’t spend a dime for the Hack’s volunteer “services” (those Libertarians are smart with their money, neh?), but for Johnston, I fear that her Feliciano-philia may have burned whatever bridges might still have remained with the VTGOP.

Of course, the conservatives she pals around with are shameless enough to continue their ill-considered battle for The Soul Of The VTGOP or whatever. But the Feliciano disaster won’t help their cause or their credibility. They just proved that, while they may have significant support among party old-timers, they have very little pull with the Republican electorate.

Now we move out west, where Johnston client Frank Riggs finished a distant fifth in the race for Arizona’s Republican nomination. The Hack had spent the winter and spring as Riggs’ campaign manager, drawing a surprisingly modest $14,500 in salary for four months’ work. She charged her buddy Randy Brock a hell of a lot more than that, for the honor of helming his campaign straight into the nearest iceberg.

Riggs finished with a measly 4% of the Republican vote, in spite of endorsements from disgraced former State Senate President Russell Pearce and pants-shitting draft-dodger Ted Nugent. The Hack comes through again.

Republicans are infamous for recycling campaign consultants who couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnston continues to find employment. But I fully expect that her future clients will be just as disappointed as those in her destructive wake.



Countin’ scribbles

 The hardworkin’ town clerks of Vermont wake up this post-primary morning with an unfun little job ahead of them. They’ll actually have to count those pesky write-in votes, and the results will actually be meaningful.

 In one case, much more meaningful than any primary result involving names on the ballot. It’ll be a few more days before we get the tallies, so sit back, relax, and smoke ’em if you got ’em. (Preferably wacky tobacky; those ciggies’ll kill ya.)

The big unfinished business is the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor. No names on the ballot, just a whole bunch of write-ins. As of this writing, 87% of the votes counted, a total of 5,126 write-in votes for Lite-Gov. The unknown: How many were for Progressive Dean Corren (who actively sought the Democratic nod) and how many were for incumbent Republican Phil Scott (whose supporters urged write-ins on the Democratic slate)?

I have to think it’s Corren, because a straight-ahead “Vote for Me” effort is an easier sell than “Vote for My Guy So We Can Screw the Dems and/or He Can Cruise to Re-election.” But we’ll have to wait and see.

Also left hanging are the un-valuable Republican nominations for Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer. The VTGOP failed to identify candidates for any of the offices, although the ill-fated RecruitFour effort did produce one write-in candidate, Shane McCormack for AG, who now has the active backing of the state party. For what that’s worth.

There were far more write-in votes for AG, so I’m suspecting McCormack will be Bill Sorrell’s sacrificial lamb this fall. As for the other three contests, who the hell knows. I’ve been actively hoping for fringe candidates to fill out the ticket, to the lasting embarrassment of the VTGOP. A homegrown Vermin Supreme, or perhaps a one-issue zealot like Annette Smith.

If there were any organized write-in campaigns, they flew under the radar. So it’ll be a few days before Vermont Republicans find out exactly what kind of nutjobs will fill out their 2014 statewide ticket.


Shootout at Stooge Creek

The suspense is killin’ me. I wake up on the day after primary day to find that only 87% of the votes have been counted (some of those hardworkin’ town clerks went home a tad early), and the contest that somehow combined competitiveness with pointlessness is still undecided.

Er, that would be the Republican primary for Congress, the winner receiving an all-expenses-unpaid trip to Planet Smackdown courtesy of incumbent Democrat Peter Welch. The race featured three Tea Party types — two unknowns, plus the guy who got trounced by Welch last time around. In cinematic terms, this contest was Shootout at Stooge Creek. Except there ain’t a Moe, Larry, or Curly in the bunch. Not even a Shemp. These guys are all Curly Joes.

(For non-Stooge fans, let’s just say that’s not a good thing.)

Somehow, the guy with all that 2012 holdover name recognition — Mark Donka — is in a tight battle with Don Russell, little-known gun-rights activist with an awful campaign website straight out of the bad old Angelfire days. The third Stooge, Donald Nolte, is still alive but just barely. As of this writing, Donka has 3,831 votes, Russell 3,737, and Nolte 3,422. In percentages, that’s 32.98% Donka, 32.17 Russell, and 29.46 Nolte.

I’m frankly baffled by the results. Donka should have had the edge, simply because he was the Republican candidate in 2012. It’s looking like he’ll snag the nom again this year, but only by the skin of his teeth.

My sense is that Republican primary voters entered the booth, were faced with three unfamiliar names, and played a little game of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock with themselves. Thus, the apparently random distribution of the votes.

Makes for a tiny bit of post-primary suspense. But in the end, it don’t mean a thing, ‘cuz Peter Welch got that swing.


Okay, so Dan Feliciano is doing a little better than I thought.

But he’s still losing in a landslide.

The Libertarian gubernatorial candidate’s write-in bid for the Republican nom went absolutely nowhere. With about 80% of the votes counted, Scott Milne has 72% of the vote; Steve Berry and Emily Peyton are both at about 7%, and almost 15% of the votes were write-ins.

All we’re getting tonight is a total write-in tally. It’ll take a few days to determine whether all of those 15% were Feliciano scribbles or if some of them were for Daffy Duck or Bullwinkle T. Moose.

Safe to conclude that Feliciano will manage to edge out Berry and Peyton. And he might try to paint a double-digit write-in finish as a moral victory of sorts. But still, it’s got to be embarrassing to the prominent Republicans who abandoned Milne and supported this doomed effort.

Except that we’re talking about people with an extremely high embarrassment threshold.

Question: Will top Republicans like Mark “Little Snell” Snelling and Brady Toensing now endorse Scott Milne? Or will they just hold their breath until they turn blue, like the statesmen they are?

Also, on the Democratic side, Governor Shumlin now has 77% to H. Brooke Paige’s 16%. Good God, are there really 2,557 voters willing to elect the Obama birther as our Governor? Sheesh.

The other news is the recently-launched and unofficial effort to get write-in votes for the recently cashiered Doug Racine. Write-ins accounted for 6% of the Democratic tally, so I guess he got a few.


Looks like Windham County has dodged a Republicrat bullet.


Might be jumping the gun, but as of this writing, with 20 of 24 precincts reporting, “The Artful Roger” Allbee is trailing in his bid to snatch one of Windham County’s two Democratic State Senate nominations.

Currently, incumbent Jeanette White has a substantial lead, with 40% of the vote. Safe to say she’s carried through. Democrat Becca Balint is second with 28%, and the longtime Republican Allbee, he of the unfortunate references to “colored” folks and those with “alternative preferences,” has 22%. Joan Bowman is trailing badly, with less than 9%.

It’d take a dramatic reversal for Allbee to edge out Balint. In an extremely low-turnout election, she has 1251 votes to Allbee’s 1020. To win, he’d have to substantially outpace Balint in the few remaining precincts. (Townshend, where he lives, has already reported, so no help there.

So, at the risk of premature blogulation, allow me to bid a fond farewell to The Artful Roger’s attempt to be a kinda-sorta Democrat. And congratulations to the voters of Windham County for choosing two real, actual Democrats for State Senate.

Oh, and allow me to send a big fat “HA HA!” to The Slummin’ Solon, Peter Galbraith, who tried to handpick Allbee as his successor. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass, Petey.


Well, that was quick.


In just about the same amount of time it took Governor Shumlin to fend off a “challenge” from Obama birther H. Brooke Paige, Scott Milne took home the Republican gubernatorial nomination. In an authentic landslide: at last report, he had 85% of the primary vote. And, as of that report, Milne had done better against his three opponents than Shumlin had against Paige. Stunning.

I guess the alleged Dan Feliciano boomlet was more like a wet fart.

And I guess this is just one more defeat in a long series for Darcie “Hack” Johnston, who came back from managing Frank Riggs’ no-hope gubernatorial campaign in Arizona in time to serve as unpaid spearhead in Feliciano’s bid for Republican write-in votes.

It would also, I hope, inspire some second thoughts on the part of other Republicans who backed Feliciano. Especially two of the party’s four state officers, Brady Toensing and Mark “Little Snell” Snelling. Could they, perhaps, finally realize that they represent a tiny sliver of the Vermont electorate? Might they come to terms with Phil Scott’s party-broadening project as the best hope for returning the VTGOP to a semblance of relevance?

No, I’m not getting my hopes up either.

It’ll take a few days before we learn exactly how badly Feliciano did, since his votes are all write-ins. Tonight’s tally includes an overall write-in total, but the actual counting of individual votes will take a few days. I’m kinda hoping he finishes dead last. It’d serve his arrogant Republican supporters right.