In its closing days, the Republican gubernatorial campaign has turned into a game of Crying Foul, in which accuracy takes a back seat to volume.
The latest round kicked off Friday evening, when Bruce Lisman’s campaign issued a press release crying foul over an alleged push poll aiming to convince Lisman supporters to abandon their man — and telling those who stuck with him “don’t forget to vote on August 23rd.”
The primary is, of course, August 9th. Team Lisman essentially accused Phil Scott of being behind the push poll, and called on him to denounce the apparent dirty trick.
Team Phil Scott responded by, yep, crying foul over what it called negative campaigning by a desperate opponent. And Scott’s chosen VTGOP chair, David Sunderland, waded in with an even louder cry of his own. He called on Lisman…
… to prove or withdraw an accusation that rival Phil Scott was behind a series of phone calls attempting to deceive voters.
His intervention might prove embarrassing should Lisman win the primary. Probably won’t happen, but the picture of Sunderland and Lisman shaking hands would be worth a thousand words.
So here’s what I think.
I think the push polls are real. I don’t think Phil Scott is behind them, or had anything to do with them. I suspect an outside Super PAC or some other agency unrelated to Scott. Lisman’s attempts to tie the push poll directly to Scott are very close to the line; but he’s right in saying that Scott ought to denounce the push poll instead of denying its existence and trashing Lisman.