Daily Archives: March 25, 2016

Senate Tweaks Doomed Program

Well, huzzah. The State Senate has approved a change in the public financing law. Currently, a candidate who wants public financing has to wait until February 15 to say or do anything campaign-related. Given the current fashion in extra-early campaign launches, that’s a significant handicap.

Tne new bill would start the clock “as soon as a privately financed candidate raised or spent up to $2,000 on a gubernatorial or lieutenant gubernatorial campaign — up to one year before Election Day,” reports Seven Days’ Paul Heintz.

This solves the too-late problem without ensuring ever-earlier campaign launches. Good idea.

However, it’s quickly becoming apparent that the deadline is far from the biggest problem with the public financing system. The biggest problem is the skyrocketing cost of statewide campaigns and the paltry sums on offer through the public funding system.

Currently, a gubernatorial hopeful who earns enough small donations gets to (a) keep that money and (b) get enough public dollars to bring their campaign total to $450,000. For lieutenant governor, the figure is $200,000.

And those are absolute limits. Not a penny more, from any source. Not even a mention in a party’s email blast.

These days, that’s simply not enough to support a competitive campaign.

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Phil’s dilemma

Was looking up a word the 21st Century way — Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. I found what I was looking for; but along the way I was offered a Word of the Day, which happened to be “undulant.”

As in, “having a wavy form, outline or surface.”

And I thought, “What a great word for Phil Scott.”

Our Lieutenant Governor is attempting a delicate balancing act which is looking to become more difficult.

On the one hand, preserving his image as a Son of the Green Mountains. On the other, needing to sip from the strong-flowing rivers of outside money in order to mount a competitive campaign against a deep-pocketed primary opponent and what’s sure to be a stoutly-funded Democrat.

On the one hand, his own pristine record of inoffensiveness and image of moderation, which are his most politically appealing attributes. On the other hand, his obligation to be a point man for his party, outlining the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Further thoughts on both points… after the jump.

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