Milne campaign shifts into… er… second gear

About a week ago, I wrote a piece lambasting the Scott Milne campaign for scheduling an un-grand total of two days’ worth of campaign events in an entire week. 

Well, the schedule’s out for this week. And the good news is, it’s a vast improvement in the week before. Monday 9/8 is the only day that’s unscheduled, and there are multiple events almost every day.

Details in a moment, but first a word about his alleged running mate, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott. He’s maintaining a busy schedule of his own, and none of it includes Scott Milne. As far as I know, the Lite-Gov hasn’t made a public appearance with Milne since Milne’s campaign launch — and then, Phil Scott stayed in the background. He didn’t say a word. Unlike Jim Douglas, who has made dutiful appearances on Milne’s behalf. I realize that Phil Scott has to fend off Dean Corren, and he seems completely preoccupied with that task. But if he’s trying to build a more inclusive VTGOP, shouldn’t he be doing everything he can to prop up Milne? He’s probably Milne’s only hope for building a positive public image. And he ain’t lifting a finger to help anybody but Phil Scott. 

Okay, back to This Week In Scott Milne. He spent much of the weekend at the State Fair in Rutland, presumably pressing the flesh and kissing babies or whatever it is that politicians do these days. (Pretending to enjoy deep-fried foods? Wearing funny hats?) 

He also found time to attend Republican events in Barre Town and Essex, plus a Private Reception (open up your wallets, good people) in Hartford. Tuesday will be spent in Newport, visiting businesses and the hospital, taping an interview on community access TV (which is kinda sad, in and of itself), and holding another Private Reception in Derby. 

Wednesday’s mostly a Washington County day; meeting with veterans, visiting Norwich University and the Barre American Legion, plus doing VPR’s Vermont Edition and hanging out with the Vermont Grocers Association in Burlington. 

Thursday and Friday are devoted to the Tunbridge Fair; he’ll also do a Meet and Greet (wallets, people) in Killington. 

Good stuff. 

Of course, it’s the kind of good stuff he should have been doing last year, if he had serious hopes of building a statewide movement. Holding fundraisers, meeting with Republican groups and businessfolks, touring different parts of the state. 

By now, he ought to have built grassroots support and name recogniation, and should be spending more time holding news conferences and doing media interviews wherever he can find a camera or microphone, and making the rounds of every daily and weekly newspaper in the state. There are only two media events thee ntire week — VPR, which is good, and NEK-TV, which is, all due respect to community access television, not. A major-party candidate for Governor should be getting his face on the big three TV stations, not on community access cable.

Of course, in order to hold news conferences, he’d need to have some news to announce. We’re now into the second week of September, and we’re still waiting for Scott Milne to start unveiling his platform. What does he want to do about health care, taxation, the economy, school governance and funding, energy, the environment? How would he refocus Act 250 and balance development with conservation? 

We… still… don’t… now. It’s now less than two months until Election Day, and Scott Milne is still a policy cipher. His attacks on Governor Shumlin have been strong and tough at times, and milktoast at times. And sometimes in the same paragraph. 

His number-one problem remains his lack of money, and his apparent inability to raise funds outside of his immediate friends and family. But beyond that, he’s got serious trouble with defining himself and building name-recognition. Things that, again, should have been done months and months ago.

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