Category Archives: Matt Dunne

Everybody hates Matt

Looking forward to Matt Dunne’s memoir of his bid for governor, working title “My House Is On Fire and All I’ve Got Is Gasoline.”

It’s been a remarkable, perhaps unprecedented, four days in Vermont politics: the self-immolation of a well-regarded candidate for governor.

And it just keeps getting worse. Today, prominent environmental groups threw their support behind Sue Minter. And then Dunne compounded the damage by trying to re-explain his new position on renewable energy siting — and in the process, he provoked backlash from the very people he tried to bring on board last Friday, the opponents of ridgeline wind.

Add it all up. Governor Shumlin and most Democratic lawmakers are mad at Dunne because he threw shade on Act 174, the compromise siting bill they carefully shepherded into law this year.

The environmental community is mad at Dunne for shifting ground on renewables in a way clearly intended to empower its opponents.

And now those opponents are mad at Dunne. The Queen Bee of oppositionalism, Annette Smith, sees Dunne as a fake and a poseur. Gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith, last seen complimenting Dunne in the latter’s ill-fated Friday press release, now says:

Snap!

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He spins right round (like a record)

Matt Dunne has forgotten the cardinal rule of what to do if you find yourself in a hole: Stop Digging.

The series of events he triggered with his spinaroonie on renewable energy siting continue to echo through Vermont’s gubernatorial race. It’s clearly the single most significant passage of this interminable campaign, which is why I keep writing about it. And I am frankly shocked at the lack of media coverage it’s received. (Except for Seven Days, which jumped on it immediately and has followed it ever since.) Digger? VPR? Free Press? Vermont Press Bureau? Bueller?

I withdraw the preceding comment. VPB’s Neal Goswami wrote it up Monday afternoon. VTDigger’s Mark Johnson filed a story that appeared Tuesday morning.

Today brought two more events, neither of which will do Dunne any good — and one that will further damage his standing (or what remains of it) with ‘mainstream Democrats.

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Matt Dunne loses his biggest environmental booster

For those who thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill, here’s your Monday morning wakeup: environmental activist Bill McKibben has withdrawn his endorsement of Matt Dunne for governor. He’s shifted his support to Sue Minter. The news was broken today by Seven Days’ Terri Hallenbeck.

This is big in two fundamental ways. First, obviously, McKibben is the planet’s number-one climate change activist. His endorsement of Dunne was effectively an environmental seal of approval.

Second, McKibben was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Dunne — indeed, he encouraged Dunne to run for governor, presumably because he thought that Dunne was the best candidate to continue Vermont’s renewable energy push. As recently as last Wednesday, McKibben co-signed a letter to the Addison Independent endorsing Dunne.

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“No one will ever trust him again.”

Matt Dunne, pre-Friday:

Dunne says the state can’t meet its 90 percent renewable energy goal by 2050 unless it encourages the development of large-scale wind and solar projects.

Dunne is a proponent of large-scale renewable wind and solar projects.

That’s from VTDigger’s guide to the primary candidates. and it’s completely at odds with the Matt Dunne who came out against ridgeline wind on Friday.

“We must battle climate change and continue down the path to 90% renewable energy by 2015. …But we must do this in a Vermont way.

… “Large-scale ridgeline wind projects should only take place with the approval of the towns where the projects are located.

… “Vermont’s renewable energy future is largely in solar and small-scale hydro.”

In short, Matt Dunne has executed a last-minute flip-flop on one of the key issues in Vermont politics. And that’s why a well-connected liberal insider told me today that “No one will ever trust him again.”

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Matt Dunne just lost my vote

I’ve been thinking about the race for governor since the very beginning. I’ve never felt a sense of clarity because I thought the two frontrunners, Matt Dunne and Sue Minter, were both good candidates. There were good reasons to go either way.

Until now.

Dunne just released a renewable energy siting policy that would make it much harder to expand our renewable capability. It would give veto power over large-scale wind projects to local communities. In all respects, it adopts the rhetoric of the anti-renewable movement.

And, in a turn that may be unprecedented in our politics or anyone else’s, his press release includes a quote from his gubernatorial rival, Peter Galbraith, a persistent opponent of ridgeline wind.

Seriously, has that ever happened before?

(Yes, I know it happened earlier in the cycle when Dunne adopted Galbraith’s stance on corporate contributions. But at the time, Galbraith hadn’t officially entered the race. Now, so close to the primary? That’s a whole different ballgame.)

There’s something fundamentally Nixonian about this. Two candidates ganging up on Sue Minter — who I must now presume is the front-runner, and clearly the biggest threat to Dunne’s election.

It’s also very close to a white flag from Galbraith, a tacit acknowledgment that he’s not going to win.

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Bernie’s hometown bros could use a little help

Fun fact: When you Google “Has Bernie Sanders Endorsed Matt,” it autofills “Has Bernie Sanders Endorsed Mattresses.”

Unfortunately, the search results don’t shed any light on whether Bernie has sold out to Big Serta, or if he prefers the versatility of a Sleep Number. (Heck, for all I know he’s still rockin’ the waterbed.)

I discovered this irrelevant factoid when trying to find out if Bernie has ever endorsed Matt Dunne for governor. The answer, once I undid the autofill, is apparently no. Dunne endorsed Bernie very early in his campaign for governor, and has lashed himself to the rhetorical mast of the S.S. Sanders, but the Junior Senator has not returned the favor.

Dunne did manage to bag Bernie’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, whose endorsement was announced today by the Dunne campaign.

Which begs the question, What About Bernie?

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The VPR Poll: Pants On Fire, and other observations

Rich Clark was worried about inaccurate results. That’s why he didn’t want to survey Vermonters about their preferences in the August primary.

Okay, but when you look at the results of his VPR Poll, you realize that some of those people are lying their asses off. Which kinda makes the whole accuracy concern seem a bit irrelevant.

The biggest whoppers came when respondents were asked how likely they are to vote. 87 percent said they were very or somewhat likely to vote in November. In actual fact, we’ll be lucky to hit 60.

As for the primary, 68 percent claim to be very or somewhat likely to vote. More than half of those people are lying. The biggest primary turnouts in recent years were 23 percent in 2010 and 30 percent in 2000, the year of the Great “Take Back Vermont” freakout.

Which makes me wonder. If that many people are lying about that, why should we believe the rest of their answers?

After the jump: analysis of their possibly truthful answers. 

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