Daily Archives: October 5, 2015

Milne for Senate?

Curious item landed in my inbox this morning: an email from Scott Milne.

Well, not a personal email — it was a blast message to his mailing list, entitled:

Scott Milne challenges Pat Leahy to get money out of politics.

The message slams Leahy for holding a fundraising event over the weekend, at which attendees were (according to Milne) charged “$5,000 for face time with Vermont’s senior Senator.” Milne compares this unfavorably with Leahy’s predecessor, St. George Aiken, who “spent $17.09 on his entire last campaign for the Senate in 1968 [and] spent a total $4,423.03 for all six of his U.S. Senate campaigns combined.”

Well, in 1968 Aiken occupied both the Republican and Democratic slots on the ballot, and managed to win re-election with, ahem, 99.9 percent of the vote, which makes me think he wasted seventeen bucks. The bulk of his career took place when the GOP absolutely ruled the roost in Vermont. But I can just hear Milne say, “Leahy is as bulletproof as Aiken; why raise money at all?” To which Leahy would reasonably reply, “In politics, you never know.” Especially since conservative groups have begun to spend money on Vermont elections. It’s only prudent for Leahy to build up a warchest.

But the biggest question raised by Milne’s email is simply, Why? Why is he attacking Pat Leahy?

If this were any politician not named Scott Milne, the answer would be obvious: he’s going to run for U.S. Senate. In Milne’s case, it might simply mean he got out of bed this morning and decided to write a letter.

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Will the VTGOP run an anti-renewables campaign?

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…

— 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie emerges from five years of political hermitage to reveal himself as a vocal anti-wind advocate. He insists his stance has nothing to do with a proposed wind farm near his house, ahem.

— Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the likely GOP gubernatorial candidate, doesn’t like ridgeline wind. He has described a road-to-Damascus moment when he was biking in rural Vermont, saw wind turbines on a ridgeline, and thought they looked ugly.

— Former Douglas Administration Ag Secretary Roger Allbee comes out of the weeds with an essay questioning whether wind and solar energy are in keeping with “Vermont’s environmental heritage,” which he describes in extremely rosy terms.

— Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning, a potential candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has expressed (on this very site) his opposition to any more large-scale renewable projects in the Northeast Kingdom.

— Then you’ve got VTGOP Chair David Sunderland, who has said “there’s science on both sides” of the climate change issue.

Taken together, that’s quite a few signs that the Vermont Republican Party will be running an anti-renewable campaign in 2016. Well, they’ll dress it up as favoring local control and taking “sensible” action (meaning little or none) while providing plenty of lip service about climate change.

This is one of the potential negative effects of a Phil Scott governorship: he would be a major obstacle to further progress on renewables.

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