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.


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?


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?

Well, to start with, Leahy is not Shumlin. The Governor was saddled with low approval ratings, some ongoing policy disappointments, and his image as an untrustworthy conniver.

Leahy is, well, St. Patrick. He has an approval rating north of 70 percent. A mere one-fifth of voters express dissatisfaction with him. Although his favorite superhero is Batman, he is, indisputably, as bulletproof as Superman.

And no, I don’t think the superdelegate kerfuffle makes a damn bit of difference. I’m sure there will be a handful of Bernie dead-enders who will refuse to vote for Leahy. Might drop his vote total by a percent or so. That’s all.

On top of that, let’s take a closer look at the Milne Miracle. I have written this before, but nobody else in the media ever does, so it’s time for a refresher course.

The dominant theme in the 2014 election was a rejection of Peter Shumlin.  The dominant reality was an electorate that, in huge numbers, decided to sit out the gubernatorial race. Here are the twin threads of history:

In 2012, Randy Brock suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Peter Shumlin.

In 2014, Scott Milne nearly pulled off a political miracle and took Shumlin to the limit.

In 2012, Randy Brock received 110,970 votes.

In 2014, Scott Milne received 87,075 votes.

Remind me again: which was the “successful” campaign?

The difference in the two races is that Shumlin’s support fell off the cliff — from 170,767 to 89,509.

Think about that. Almost one-half of those who voted for Shumlin in 2012 rejected him in 2014.

Much of that was Shumlin-specific. In addition, 2012 was a presidential year and 2014 was not. Vermont always has a much higher turnout in presidential years. How much higher? Over the last 20 years, the presidential-year turnout is roughly 300,000. In non-presidential years, it’s 211,000.

And this year, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a presidential year.

Maybe I’m shooting a gnat with an elephant gun, but I felt compelled to explain why I am, once again, dismissing Scott Milne’s chances even though I was wrong last time.

I won’t be wrong this time. If Milne steps into the ring with Leahy, he’ll be quickly and easily dispatched.


5 thoughts on “The ghost of 2014 walks the earth

  1. H. Brooke Paige

    Give the guy a break, St. Patty does not deserve to go unopposed it the General Election.

    After all, the real entertainment will be in the Democratic primary where Vermont’s perpetual candidate, Cris Ericson of Vermont Marijuana Party fame, has promised to give Leahy a run for the money.

    Hell, she might attempt to beat him to death with her floppy “Chapeau,”

    I’ll bring popcorn, this one should be a hoot !

  2. Robert Haskins

    One D list perpetual candidate trash talking another D lister, I’d wager both Ericson and Paige each would get more votes against Leahy then Lisman tallies against Scott.

  3. H. Brooke Paige

    Who was “trash talking”, Cris is a personal friend and I think it is great that she gets out there regularly attempting to bring attention to concerns she believes are important ! She does a lot more to shed light on the troubles that spring from under the “golden bubble” than many that are elected to “serve” there.

  4. newzjunqie

    It’s the year of the ‘under-candidate’-old political establishment class is out- bring on the new faces who will serve us and commit to the business of the ppl. It’s the beginning of a revolution-Bernie is a sign. Voters don’t want do-nothings who continue to wreck the country and our lives, primarily committed to lobbyists who galvanize their power base while serving own interests which is enriching themselves seemingly forever. Go Milne.

    Milne 2016

  5. newzjunqie

    Though it seems like a longshot, Milne is a serious candidate. The joke candidates are within their rights but so is running a circus. The ppls business deserves statespersons not career carnys’, characters & crooks such as we see on the national scene.


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