Minter’s haul

Endorsements don’t generally move the needle much. They’re mainly of note to the political media, good for a quick space-filler on a slow newsday, quickly forgotten.

Labor unions are an exception to some extent, because if the endorsement rings true with the rank and file, the union can deliver a batch of votes — especially important in a low-turnout primary.

But when one politico endorses another, it’s not much of a deal.

(It’s a bigger deal when one politico fails to deliver an expected endorsement, as in numerous Republicans not backing Trump.  As commenter David Ellenbogen pointed out, Bernie Sanders has not endorsed David Zuckerman for lieutenant governor. Bernie’s open support for Chris Pearson was a financial windfall for Pearson’s Senate campaign. But no love for Zuckerman. Interesting.)

A limited exception to the no-big-deal rule can be found in the case of Sue Minter’s announcement yesterday that she has the backing of dozens of current and former state lawmakers, including many key players in the Legislature.

Current officeholders number seven state senators and 46 members of the House. The senators include most of the body’s reigning powers: Dick Sears, Claire Ayer, Jeanette White, Ginny Lyons, plus Prog/Dem stalwart Anthony Pollina. Representatives include twelve committee chairs and several other influential members of the caucus. The former lawmakers include two former House Speakers and a sizable number of notables like Kathy Hoyt, Mike Fisher, Mark Larson, and Martha Heath.

That’s a lot of Democratic firepower. Which won’t move the needle much with your typical primary voter, but it does indicate substantial Democratic Party support for Sue Minter.

And now for some uninformed (but hopefully intelligent) speculation, entirely my own.

To me, this indicates a coalescing around Minter by Democratic regulars (plus a notable number of lefty/progressive types). All along, I think those regulars were more comfortable with Minter than with Matt Dunne (or certainly Peter Galbraith), but saw Dunne as potentially the stronger candidate and thus held off on making an endorsement.

Now, with less than a month until primary day, Dunne has apparently failed to create distance between himself and Minter. He was, essentially, given a chance to earn widespread Democratic Party support by building a lead — but since he hasn’t done so, the regulars can vote according to their comfort level. Hence, Minter.

Is this a big Biden deal? No. But it is definitely a deal. It is an achievement for Minter, who was widely seen as perhaps not ready for prime time. She has convinced quite a few top Dems to publicly support her. Or Dunne has failed to convince, or a combination of the two.

If the endorsements are backed up by organizational strength and networking reach, then Minter will win some votes. At the very least, the endorsements lend her campaign some credibility.

And while it may not help a whole lot, it sure can’t hurt.

For most of this long campaign, I’ve given an edge to Dunne. Now, I wonder if he’s, in fact, running from behind. Might explain this week’s “Almost a Woman” TV ad.

9 thoughts on “Minter’s haul

  1. jillm

    Did you see Matt Dunne’s announcement a few days ago about endorsements of over 70 current, former and future legislators? I don’t remember if you did a posting on that.

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Yes I did, and no I didn’t. I thought Minter’s was more noteworthy because she got so many current and former Legislative leaders on board. And because I take it as a sign that her campaign is earning some validation in party circles.

      1. propinteract

        If we want to maintain the status quo, then perhaps this is “more noteworthy”, however there are many in the state – economists in particular, who recognize the need to grow our economy and our population. Matt offers innovating ideas for delivering these things.

  2. Schman

    Me thinks the party-leader support is even deeper as a number of leaders going to the National Convention have yet to state who they support, along with a number of those currently running for other office. Several have indicated in private they they support Sue.

  3. Mark Trigo

    Some interesting data on Youtube. The most popular video on Matt Dunne’s channel has 526 views. The next most popular has 334. Both of these videos are campaign ads. One probably got some views due to being mentioned here. Two of his endorsement videos have 3 and 5 views respectively.

    Minter’s most popular video has 11,591 views. The next most popular has 8,404. Likewise, these are her campaign ads.

    I’ve said it for months… Matt Dunne wants to be governor primarily because Matt Dunne wants to be governor. He appears to be playing a role and nothing more. He’s certainly not a natural – at least by Vermont standards. He still may win, but he’s not making it easy for himself.

  4. Kelly Cummings

    Mark, I am wondering if you could explain why you’ve come to this conclusion. On what do you base your comment?

    “Matt Dunne wants to be governor primarily because Matt Dunne wants to be governor. He appears to be playing a role and nothing more. He’s certainly not a natural – at least by Vermont standards. ”


  5. Dave Gibson (@propdave)

    I’ve known Matt since we were kids and I can tell you that Matt’s commitment to public service has run longer than any candidate. He stepped into the house when he was only 22 and has since worked to help Vermonters through both public service and private sector. He extended that outside of Vermont when he was tapped to head up over 6,000 people at AmericCorps to help Americans in poverty. When Google hired him, he refused to leave VT and they let him setup the first Vermont office in WRJ, where he also helped small VT businesses better market and sell their goods online. He also applied Google’s resource at the point of need when Irene hit by creating a custom GoogleMap that allowed families and aid workers to navigate the state when roads everywhere were wiped out. Now he steps forward to bring innovation to Vermont to grow our economy and our population and move Vermont forward.

  6. Ed Adrian

    Full disclosure, unabashed Matt Dunne supporter here. I’m not sure how much endorsements really mean at all when you are talking about an August 9th Primary. This is all going to be about who has the best ground game and who is going to be able to GOTV.

    I’m obviously bias, but as usual, the “Big City” is going to be very high (relatively) in the turn-out numbers. This is especially true since hometown boys Chris Pearson and Dave Zuckerman and hometown girl Kehsa Ram are all running in competitive elections. Even more revealing is that if endorsements do mean anything, then Matt will be doing quite well in Burlington after receiving the endorsements of the entire Burlington City Council Progressive Caucus and Progressives turning out to support Dave, Chris and Kesha.

    Substantively Matt brings tons of real world, extra-govermental experience to the position, which is something we sorely need in Vermont right now. He is also not tied into the Shumlin administration, which is important both on the credibility level and for the general election. Matt is also a genuinely decent person. Sure he may dress a little fancy for certain Vermont settings, but in the end of the day I think I would want a governor who overdressed, rather then underdressed.

    We are fortunate to live in Vermont. Of the 5 major candidates, every one is a decent person and everyone brings something credible and important to the table. Matt just happens to bring a little more.


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