In the first two TV ads from the Matt Dunne campaign, the name “Bernie Sanders” appeared more often and more prominently than the candidate’s own. Indeed, the first ad began with the words “What Bernie Sanders started” and the second opened with “Bernie Sanders.”
So, mini-Bernie? Perhaps, although his policy positions are a mix of Bernie-style progressivism and Shumlin-style pragmatism.
Today, his third ad dropped, and this time he’s a woman.
Well, not really. But he’s the next best thing: a fully liberated and feminist man, thanks to a family tree full of determined, accomplished women. The lines are all delivered by women; Dunne appears only in the closing shot without saying a word, standing next to the primary narrator — who turns out to be his wife, Sarah Stewart Taylor.
Message, I guess: You don’t need to vote for The Woman in the race, because Matt Dunne is an honorary woman.
You know, the problem with the Dunne campaign is that it’s trying too hard. He’s putting on a costume show instead of just sharing himself with the voters.
Also, he needs to cut back on the Red Bull. His first two ads were a little hyperkinetic, and he was a bit too close for comfort.
Or maybe this is what he is: an overcaffeinated chameleon. I’d like to hope not, though.
Polling information is scant and untrustworthy; but by all accounts, Dunne has failed to pull ahead despite some apparent advantages. Name recognition from his previous gubernatorial bid, experience in a statewide campaign, an ability to play the outsider because he hasn’t been in office during the Shumlin years, credibly transferable private-sector experience, strong fundraising, an energetic campaign team, and an inconsistent effort from his main opponent, Sue Minter.
Who, by contrast with Dunne, is saddled with her six years in the Shumlin administration and got a much later start. She’s also never run for office outside her home base of Waterbury, she had to change campaign managers midstream, and is perceived as an underwhelming speaker.
Matt Dunne inspires a lot of people, so I assume there’s a real guy in there with real ideas who might well make a good governor. Maybe his campaign is outsmarting itself.
My advice, for what it’s worth: dial it back a bit. Take a chill pill. Show Vermont a person they can relate to. Assuming, of course, that he exists under all the costumery.