Tag Archives: Bradford Broyles

Everything’s Coming Up Phil

Speaking in purely political terms, things could hardly be going any better for Gov. Phil Scott.

His solid record on Covid-19, while flawed in some respects and overstated by him and his officials, continues to receive widespread praise. He dominates the political news with his thrice-weekly marathon briefings. His popularity appears to be as high as ever, and many Democrats have already — quietly — conceded his re-election.

And now, the July 1 campaign finance filings are full of good cheer for Scott and bad news for his would-be opponents.

Scott’s own campaign barely raised any money between March 15 and July 1 — a mere $8,000. (He’s raised only $80,000 for the entire campaign cycle.) Not surprising, since he has said he won’t campaign or fundraise until the pandemic is over… which may be sometime in 2024, by the looks of things.

But while he is refraining from the dirty business of politics, his campaign is humming right along. It is deficit spending, mainly to pay Optimus Consulting, a D.C. firm that has done all his strategerizing and media buys in each of his gubernatorial campaigns, a cool $114,500 for its services this year. That represents the bulk of total Scott spending.

Meanwhile, the Republican Governors Association waits in the background to inject however much money is needed to ensure a Scott victory. So far, the RGA has funneled $126,000 into its “independent PAC,” A Stronger Vermont. It can easily pump in enough money to overwhelm all other bankrolls in the race, as it did in 2016, when Scott first ran for governor. The RGA spent more than $3 million that year, and effectively knocked Democrat Sue Minter out of contention with a late-summer/early-fall ad blitz. That’s chump change by RGA standards.

(The RGA’s expenditures are purely independent of Scott’s campaign, but paid for so much TV time in 2016 and 2018 that Scott barely had to run any ads of his own.)

And now we know where Scott’s Democratic challengers stand money-wise. It’s not a pretty picture.

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A familiar face is sent to the rescue in Kansas

In case you haven’t been following the Pat Roberts saga… he’s a longtime Republican U.S. Senator from the deeply red state of Kansas, whose re-election bid is, amazingly, in serious trouble. This week, the Democratic challenger Chad Taylor withdrew from the race in favor of popular Independent Greg Orman. 

In response, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach identified a legal technicality for keeping Taylor on the ballot in hopes that a three-way race will save Roberts’ bacon. 

But just in case that bit of legalistic chicanery isn’t enough, a well-known campaign consultant has been parachuted in by the national GOP to take the reins of Roberts’ troubled campaign. 

And the name of Pat Roberts’ would-be hero, according to Politico.com? 

Corry Bliss. corrybliss1edt

Corry freakin’ Bliss. 

Good God in Heaven. 

Bliss, for those with short memories, is widely credited with bringing the Jim Douglas era to a crashing halt by piloting Brian Dubie’s gubernatorial campaign straight into the ground. He’s a prime example of a Republican campaign consultant who loses every time but somehow continues to get new gigs. And I mean every time: Bliss’ record is a stunning 0 wins, 7 losses. 

A brief recap of Bliss’ appalling career: He graduated from law school in 2006, and managed the re-election bid of a Virginia congresswoman into defeat. In 2010 he came to Vermont and took control of the Dubie campaign. Refresh my memory; how did that turn out? 

“Corry Bliss took a candidate that was up 20 points and turned him into a loser by election day,” said Bradford Broyles, a Republican activist from Mendon, a town in the central part of the state, near Killington. “We’re still repairing the damage to the Republican party.”

Bliss ended his Vermont tenure by writing a court-ordered letter of apology to settle a libel suit. 

After that, Bliss returned to his native Virginia where he took a State Senate candidate with a nice-guy image, trashed said image with negative campaign tactics, and — you guessed it — lost the race. Sound familiar, Brian?

He then failed upward to pro-wrestling magnate Linda McMahon’s very expensive and unsuccessful 2012 bid to win a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut, earning fresh criticism for devious campaign tactics: 

Doorhangers call on voters to cast their ballots for President Obama as well as McMahon, promising the pair “will fight for us.” T-shirts mimicking the election gear worn by members of the Service Employees International Union are being donned by pro-McMahon forces at polling places, again tying McMahon to Obama. They read “I Support Obama & McMahon November 6th.” And “sample ballots” bearing McMahon’s campaign bug are being handed out at some urban polling places with just two names on them: McMahon and Obama.

 

Nowhere does any of this material say McMahon is a Republican or is herself voting for Mitt Romney.

Good times. In spite of Bliss’ Super Genius skulduggery, McMahon lost the race by 12 percentage points. 

But that didn’t stop Corry Bliss, no sirree. He hightailed it back to Virginia, where he signed onto the re-election bid of five-term incumbent lawmaker Joe May, who, yes indeedy, had a reputation as a good guy. May lost in the Republican primary, and Bliss’ “nasty, vicious, dark” tactics took the blame. 

This year, Bliss signed on to the Senatorial bid of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel*. Whoops; she came in third in a five-way primary. 

*Handel, by the way, was fresh off a disastrous turn as a top executive at Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She was the one behind the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood that nearly sank one of America’s most popular charities. 

And now, after compiling an 0-7 record as a campaign manager, Corry Bliss is Pat Roberts’ designated savior. 

All I can say is, good luck, Mr. Roberts.