Daily Archives: July 15, 2015

Matt Dunne lays down a marker

There are still many reports yet to be filed, but it looks like the big news from today’s midyear campaign finance deadline will be Matt Dunne’s hefty, and heavy-hitting, finance report. The former State Senator and onetime gubernatorial candidate reports $115,000 in fundraising — but since the report was prepared, he says, he’s added another 20K to the total, bringing his tally to $135,000.

Which is particularly impressive when you consider that he’s done almost all of that work in the last ten days. “Governor Shumlin made his announcement [of non-candidacy] only four or five weeks ago,” he said. After that, Dunne deferred to his political mentor, Congressman Peter Welch, who announced he would not run for governor on June 26 — the very day that Dunne was going out of town for “a long-planned family vacation.”

And yes, if you scan his list of contributions, the earliest date you’ll see is July 6. And the first names on the list: the heavy Dem donors Jay and Caroline Canning. Jay owns the upscale Hotel Vermont. Dunne kept his virtual rolodex* spinning as he contacted well-heeled Vermonters and his many acquaintances in Silicon Valley; Paul Heintz has many of the details in his “Fair Game” column. Suffice it to say that he’s cut a swath through the roster of deep-pocketed Democrats. (A couple names not mentioned by Heintz: Will Raap of Gardeners Supply, the Growald family of Woodstock, and from across the river, former Democratic Party National Committeeman Peter Burling and members of the Taylor family. Dunne’s wife is the author Sarah Stewart Taylor [hi, Sarah]; it’s always nice when you can marry well.)

*Come on, you don’t think a Google executive has an actual Rolodex, do you?

It’s hard to interpret this as anything but a strong marker — a sign to other potential candidates that Dunne is dead serious and has a lot of support, in spite of his nearly five-year absence from statewide politics. Absence, at least as a visible part of the process; he says he’s been heavily involved in various endeavors in Vermont that have kept him very much in circulation.

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Deep-pocketed Lieutenant Governor hopeful stakes his claim

Well, here’s an interesting tidbit from Campaign Finance Reporting Day. (July 15 is a deadline for campaign finance reports.)

Brandon Riker, Brattleboro resident and (as far as I know) the only declared candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has raised over $100,000 for his campaign.

That number almost made me shoot Vermont Coffee Company coffee out my nose.

And then I looked down the list of major donors, and one name dominated the list.


Young Brandon has given his own campaign $58,500. Other people named Riker (Brent, Craig, Julia, Leslie, Barbara, Dale, and Stephanie) have kicked in $28,000.

Nice to be a member of a family that can spare 86 grand on a newcomer’s first political campaign.

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And now, the next phase of the “Get Rid of Norm” campaign begins

Yesterday, prosecutors and defense in the Senator Norm McAllister Incredibly Gross and Offensive Sexual Exploitation case got together and released the “discovery stipulation,” or in English, the projected timeline for a trial.

And as VTDigger’s Morgan True reports, it’s scheduled to take place “smack in the middle of the 2016 legislative session.”


Wouldn’t that be fun? If McAllister remains determined to hold on to his seat, he’d have cameras following him everywhere he goes in the Statehouse, and following him back and forth to the courthouse, and reporters asking all sorts of embarrassing questions of fellow lawmakers (“Hey, Senator Mullin, got a minute? I want to ask about your old roomie.”), especially Republicans, and especially Franklin County Republicans.

Of course, legal experts say that delays are virtually inevitable, so the likely outcome is that the trial will happen sometime later next year. Buzzkill. Even so, the cameras and reporters will be swarming.

But with the legal schedule set, Republicans will redouble their efforts to convince McAllister to deliver the face-saving resignation they all desperately want. As Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning told me last month, once the discovery stipulation is revealed, “the process will be clear and Norm will have to face it.”

That is the hope, anyway.

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