Daily Archives: March 18, 2016

The ghost of 2014 walks the earth

Ruh-roh. I’ll bet Pat Leahy is quaking in his boots.

Either that, or snickering in his tumbler of single malt. The Valley News via VTDigger:

Milne Travel, the Barre-based travel agency owned by former Vermont GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne, has sold a controlling stake in the company to the New York-based travel management giant Altour International Inc.

Milne, who acknowledged he is weighing a run later this year for the U.S. Senate seat held by Patrick Leahy, said the joint venture with Altour places his firm on a solid financial footing “should I get lucky … it gives me the ability to step back for six years.”

That’s right, Senator. Vermont’s own Giant Killer has you squarely in his crosshairs.

Hahaha.

Well, to be fair, Milne’s name recognition should allow him to outpace Len Britton, who earned 31% of the vote in 2010 as Leahy’s most recent Republican opponent. But can Milne repeat his David V. Goliath act against Vermont’s Senior Senator?

Naah.

I suppose I should explain, since I was equally dismissive of Milne’s chances in 2014, when he came within an eyelash of unseating Shumlin. So why am I confident in laughing off his chances this time?

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How green is your campaign cash?

Campaign finance filing day always brings out a mild strain of Vermont nativism, as candidates rush to claim a Real People Badge of Honor by touting contributions from small donors and authentic Vermonters and throwing shade on opponents who dare to import their campaign cash.

This week, Republicans are touting the fact that Phil Scott took in more cash from Vermonters than anyone else (not including Bruce Lisman’s self-funding). More than three-fourths of Scott’s money is Vermont green.

The most flatlander-oriented campaign, on the other hand, is Matt Dunne’s. He raised $322,000 in Other People’s Money, thanks in large part to his years in the tech industry. Shocking! Dunne’s bankroll is as much California pastel as Green Mountain Green.

Which, honestly, who cares?

Well, the media do — on campaign finance filing day, at least. The writers of political press releases certainly make a big deal of it, seeking that real-deal Green Mountainicity.

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The Democrats still have the money

Ever since Brian Dubie lost his race for governor in 2010, the Vermont Republican Party has lagged badly in political finance. With the exception of Phil Scott’s budget-friendly runs for lieutenant governor, Republican candidates for top offices (when they exist at all) have been at a tremendous disadvantage financially.

And need I remind you of the chronic penury of the VTGOP itself?

Well, 2016 is a new cycle and the Republicans have their Great White Hope running for governor, but one thing remains the same: the Democrats still have the money.

Just look at the campaign finance filings for governor. Setting aside Bruce Lisman’s generosity to himself, the two Republican candidates lag far behind their Democratic counterparts. Yes, even Phil Scott.

Matt Dunne and Sue Minter have combined to raise an astounding $1,055,026.

Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman (minus the latter’s donations to himself): $593,188.

I realize that Lisman’s own cash will buy just as many consultants and pre-processed Tweets as contributed funds. The point is, Vermont Republicans cannot match the Democrats in fundraising prowess. Not even Phil Scott.

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