In my last post, I mentioned that the campaigns of Matt Dunne and Sue Minter continued on autopilot for a few days after the Stenger/Quiros scandal had broken. On Thursday, Minter unveiled a substantial, wide-ranging water quality initiative, which got absolutely buried in the EB-5 avalanche. On Friday, Dunne released his personal financial information.
It was the worst possible timing if they actually wanted to make the news. Especially unfortunate in Minter’s case, since it was a major policy statement and she had some notable advocates on hand for her announcement — including James Ehlers of Lake Champlain International and Denise Smith of Friends of Northern Lake Champlain.
Well, David Zuckerman also got caught in the avalanche. On Thursday, he announced a significant endorsement: former Lieutenant Governor and State Senator Doug Racine is backing Zuckerman for Lite-Gov.
“This year Vermont is seeing a lot of turnover in top positions of State government and legislative leadership. I want someone with progressive values and proven leadership on social and economic justice issues to fill that void and Senator Zuckerman fits that description,” said Racine.
In general, endorsements are a bigger deal in the media than anywhere else. But Racine is a notable figure in the Democratic Party’s left wing, and Zuckerman’s biggest challenge is convincing actual Democrats to vote for someone who primarily identifies as a Progressive. Fair or not, that’s simply a bridge too far for many Dems, especially in Chittenden County, where Racine resides.
It’s also a bit of a warning shot across the bow of The Good Ship Shap, currently in drydock but openly mooting a venture into the high seas. The retiring Speaker is considering a bid for either Governor or Lieutenant Governor, but these days he’s leaning toward the latter. (Probably not because of my encouragement, but a blogger can dream.)
Is it a coincidence that Racine made his move when the Shap rumors are reaching a full boil? Seems a tad unlikely.
Well, if Racine’s endorsement had any public-relations value, it got lost in the shuffle.
I’ve never been on the inside of a political campaign, so I don’t know all the effort that goes into a press release or news conference. But anybody active in Vermont politics had to realize, as soon as the feds raided Bill Stenger’s offices last Wednesday, that nothing else was going to make news in Vermont for quite a while.
They wouid have done better to pull the plug on anything unrelated to EB-5 for at least a week or so. The time would have been better spent preparing their responses to the scandal.