Tag Archives: Christina Nolan

The Saddest October Surprise Ever

Hey, I hadn’t realized that former VTGOP chair Deb Billado had made a comeback. Congratulations!!

But seriously, the above image is from a nasty little political ad created by the Vermont Republican Party. They waited until now because it’s too late for anyone to make a cogent response. On the other hand, it’s also too late for such a message to sink in, especially since the party can’t afford the kind of advertising blitzkrieg that would punch this message through the noise and smoke of the home stretch.

The 30-second spot features a man identified as “Nathan,” said to be a former employee of David Zuckerman’s Full Moon Farm. “Nathan,” last name not given, is dressed just like a farm worker and stands in front of a suitably well-worn farm-type truck as he unrolls a litany of complaints about Zuckerman as a boss. Low pay, no time off, substandard accommodations, etc.

There is no way to verify Nathan’s identity or his story. The VTGOP, as far as I know, has made no attempt to back up his assertions. He might be a former employee with an ax to grind, justifiably or otherwise. (Any employer will eventually rub some people the wrong way.)

He might also be a Young Republican who’s never gotten dirt under his fingernails.

The cherry on top: The person behind the ad appears to be Republican National Committeeman (and lamprey on the underbelly of Vermont Republicanism) Jay Shepard. His business, Junction Consulting, has been paid $14,450 since October 28 for “Media – TV,” according to party filings with the secretary of state*. The party has reported no other expenditures on mass media.

Continue reading

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Primary

Well, primary night turned out to be quite a bit less exciting than we thought. With a few exceptions, the races that seemed unpredictable weren’t, in the end, very close at all. What follows is a selection of post-midnight thoughts, none of which are about the gubernatorial race because the primaries were uncompetitive.

1. Those unbelievable polls were right about the Democratic primary for Congress. Becca Balint beat the metaphorical pants off Molly Gray. In the end, the margin was 23 percentage points. Remember back in January, when Gray had gotten off to a hot start and Balint was entering the race at the same time she had to manage the Senate Democratic Caucus? Seemed like Gray had the edge. Hell, it seemed like Balint might get squeezed between centrist Gray and progressive Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale.

I think Gray did have the edge at the time. So what happened? Balint caught fire with the Democratic electorate while Gray’s bio-heavy, policy-lite approach wore out its welcome. When it became clear that Balint was pulling ahead, Gray started flailing around, presenting herself as a pragmatist (be still, my heart) while depicting Balint as a Bernie Sanders clone. Yes, Bernie, Vermont’s most popular politician. Gray’s attack lines were implausible from the get-go. Did anyone really believe that Balint was an uncompromising ideologue or a captive of shady out-of-state money? No. For an attack to be effective, it has to be plausibly based in a candidate’s real or perceived weaknesses.

2. Everyone involved in Gray’s campaign has some soul-searching to do. Not only because they lost badly despite the very public blessing of St. Patrick Leahy, but also because they burned a lot of bridges in Democratic circles by going negative.

2a. Is this the end of Team Leahy’s dominance in Democratic politics? They bet big on Gray, and she rolled snake eyes. Leahy will remain a beloved figure but a sidelined one. His team, meanwhile, soiled themselves and dragged Leahy down with them. If there was any belief that they had the corner on political savvy in Vermont, well, that balloon has burst.

3. Oh Lord, the Republicans. They emerge from the primary with a statewide “ticket” of Gerald Malloy, Liam Madden, Phil Scott, Joe Benning, H. Brooke Paige, H. Brooke Paige, H. Brooke Paige, and H. Brooke Paige. The VTGOP now has a few days to cobble together a slate of candidates to supplant Paige, and none of them will have a prayer of a chance. Besides Scott, Benning is the only winner who’s not a walking, talking joke, and his campaign is operating on a shoestring. He’ll be a decent candidate, but he’s not going to win.

Continue reading

Here’s the Last Thing Vermont’s Anti-Abortion Movement Needs

A rift may be developing in our state’s tiny anti-abortion movement, which already is vastly outnumbered and vastly outresourced in its campaign against the reproductive rights amendment known as Article 22. The last thing they need is an internal dispute.

On Saturday the Vermont Daily Chronicle posted a written exchange between far-right activist Jim Sexton and Mary Beerworth, longtime leader of the Vermont Right to Life Committee. In his letter, Sexton upbraided Beerworth for endorsing Christina Nolan for U.S. Senate over the thoroughly anti-abortion Gerald Malloy, and for making a donation to the Nolan campaign. He called on Beerworth to either “come out Publicly and disassociate from Ms. Nolan and her campaign, or to resign from VT Right to Life.”

Beerworth replied that she made the endorsement because Nolan is (1) staunchly opposed to Article 22 and (2) the only Republican with a chance of beating “100% pro-abortion and 100% pro-Article 22, Peter Welch (D)” in November.

It’s a rare moment of pragmatism from an activist known for her doggedness in fronting lost causes. And it comes at a time when pragmatism is a dirty word for many on the right.

Continue reading

Back to the Condiments Aisle (and Other Notes on That Poll)

Back on April 22, I wrote that I almost felt sorry for Christina Nolan, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Since then, she’s lived through the dreadful mayonnaise video, a failure to identify a single campaign staffer, a disastrous campaign finance report, and the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, a terrible development for a candidate with a squishy-soft position on reproductive rights.

Well, now I really do feel sorry for her.

The UNH Survey Center poll of Vermont’s two Congressional races was laughably bad for Lt. Gov. Molly Gray. It was downright embarrassing for Nolan. The poll has her six points behind Generic Angry White Guy Gerald Malloy and 18 points behind “Undecided.”

More on this in a moment, but I wanted to add three thoughts to my earlier post on the Gray/Becca Balint poll.

First, this is not about Super PAC spending. Sure, three progressive PACs have spent a combined $600,000 on independent activities in support of Balint. But the bulk of that money was spent this month, and a 42 percentage point spread just doesn’t happen that quickly. Even people who run these campaigns would acknowledge that they’re working the margins, trying to move the needle by a few percentage points. The Super PAC support certainly makes Gray’s task harder but if she blames her predicament on them, she’ll be wrong.

Second, if a 42-point deficit wasn’t enough bad news for Gray, there’s also a favorability gap. Balint was seen favorably by 72% of respondents, and unfavorably by a mere 6%. Twelve percent had no opinion. The same categories for Gray: 42% favorable, 19% unfavorable, 8% no opinion. The gist: there’s only a small pool of gettable voters for Gray. Only 13% are undecided. If this poll is anywhere in the ballpark, Gray has a huge deficit and little room to make progress.

Third, Natalie Silver is a freakin’ genius. She’s run a seemingly flawless campaign for Balint. Maybe we should have seen this coming; TJ Donovan never looked better than when Silver was his chief of staff. (She was also involved in Gray’s surprising run to the Bucket of Warm Piss in 2020.) I suspect that if Balint goes to Congress, Silver will be in her inner circle because why the hell wouldn’t you want Silver at your side? But if Silver doesn’t go to Washington, she’ll be the hottest commodity in Vermont politics. And rightfully so.

Ahem. Back to Christina Nolan.

Continue reading

Just Shut Up, Phil (And Other Observations)

“Deeply disappointed,” my ass.

As long as he continues to voluntarily wear the Republican badge, Gov. Phil Scott is in no position to bemoan the disastrous Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Besides, he has no power whatsoever to make anything happen about this. In fact, I assume that if he had his way, we’d elect Christina Nolan to the U.S. Senate, which would be one more nail in the coffin of reproductive rights.

Indeed, if those pesky rumors about a Phil Scott run for Congress had come true (and he’d won, which could have happened because Nice Guy), he’d be helping his party retain or expand Congressional majorities, which would mean even more anti-choice judges.

“I signed a law”… that the Democratic Legislature pushed through with no help from your fellow Republicans. “I will be voting for that amendment,” but the vast majority of your fellow Republicans won’t be. You can roll your disappointment up real tight and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

Phil Scott likes to pretend that his party has gone off the rails fairly recently. Say, with the nomination of Donald Trump. Problem is, his party has been working to overturn Roe v. Wade since the 1991 confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. He was nominated by George H.W. Bush. Justices Alito and Roberts were nominated by George W. Bush. The other three radical judicial activists were installed by Trump and Mitch McConnell.

Continue reading

I Guess That’s the End of the Mayonnaise Videos

Christina Nolan announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate almost four months ago, but her campaign hasn’t been able to name any paid staff until last Friday, when she finally hired a campaign manager.

Timely, that. Two months until the primary, five months before the election, she’s up against Peter Welch, the well-known and -liked and ridiculously well-funded U.S. Representative seeking to make the leap to the Senate. Given her dismal first-quarter fundraising haul, one suspects that the hiring delay was more financially motivated than anything else.

And of course, with no time for a new staffer to get a feel for the quirky politics of Vermont, she hired a complete outsider: Jake Monssen of the Mississippi-based consultancy Triumph Strategies.

I don’t need to remind you that outsiders who parachute into our brave-ish little state have a record of helming generic campaigns that fail to resonate. Who’s gonna ask him how many teats on a Holstein?

Monssen is touted as an experienced conservative campaign operative. But his resumé includes no blue states, or even purple ones. Until now, he has operated entirely in deep red precincts.

Continue reading

Nolan Bravely Confronts Mayonnaise Crisis

See? There’s slightly less mayonnaise than there could be!

The Christina Nolan campaign is treading dangerously close to self-parody.

Last Wednesday, Team Nolan posted a brief video on social media showing the candidate in front of literally hundreds of mayonnaise jars talking about a mayo shortage.

It was probably her most viral campaign vid to date, but the attention was all negative. Condiment jokes flew around Twitter. The scorn was well-earned; this was bad, really bad. Downright embarrassing, in fact, for a major-party campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Setting, lighting, text, delivery, sound, were all barely acceptable by community access TV standards. It’s something you might have expected from Nolan’s low-wattage Republican opponents.

This video was only 27 seconds long; to enumerate its offenses against politics will take far longer.

Let’s start at the top. Nolan, dressed to make her seem human and relatable. But they went a little too far with it. Lumpy sweatshirt, oddly bulgy tan shorts and flip flops? It’s possible to dress casually without looking like, well, a slob. Also, the colors make her fade into the background.

She stands, rather awkwardly, in front of a nearly-packed supermarket display to talk about supply chain issues. Whose idea was that? Couldn’t they find a display that was actually empty?

And why mayonnaise? (Team Nolan later posted a much better video of her in front of a nearly-empty display of baby formula, which is the supply chain issue of the day. Not mayo.)

Continue reading

Maybe, Considering the Circumstances, They Just Prefer to be Anonymous

Team Nolan (Not Exactly As Illustrated)

On May 20, VTDigger’s Lola Duffort graced our #vtpoli feeds with an “it’d be funny if it wasn’t true” story about Christina Nolan’s campaign team. Or lack thereof.

Nolan’s campaign doesn’t list a contact person. It hasn’t identified any staffers. It communicates with the media through an anonymous email account with no phone number. The only name officially on board the Nolan Doomcruiser is former governor Jim Douglas, who’s serving as “campaign chair.” Otherwise, nada.

A perusal of her latest campaign finance filing shows no trace of paid staff. Lots of big checks for consultancies, including $16,000 to political sea lamprey Jay Shepard, but no actual campaign team. Which is sad, really, for someone hoping to compete with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch’s near-universal name recognition and nearly bottomless war chest.

But when you take a look at Nolan’s tone-deaf Twitter feed, the explanation is obvious: Nobody wants to take “credit” for this catastrophe-in-the-making.

Continue reading

Christina Nolan, Fake Abortion Rights Advocate

As befits a politician aspiring to the image of moderate Republicanism, U.S. Senate candidate Christina Nolan has given a carefully circumscribed statement of support for abortion rights.

And it’s as worthless as a bank note from the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

I’m not accusing her of lying. Although a look at her background might suggest otherwise. She was raised in a devout Catholic family; she attended Rice Memorial High School; her grandparents were publicly anti-abortion; and one of her aunts is Mary Beerworth, the longtime head and public face of Vermont Right to Life. None of those facts can be found in any of her campaign literature, because of course they can’t.

But hey, for all I know she might be the family outcast, what with her “alternative lifestyle” and all.

Whether she’s welcome at holiday dinners or not, she opposes Proposition 5, the amendment that would enshrine reproductive freedom in Vermont’s Constitution, using language and reasoning borrowed from the anti-abortion crowd. They realize that direct opposition is a nonstarter in Vermont, so instead they raise bogus concerns about Prop 5 being overly broad, subject to misinterpretation, and potentially allowing abortion right up to the moment of birth. Nolan reportedly views Prop 5 as “extreme” but shies away from specifics. When asked where she would draw the line, all she can offer is “Vermonters need to have this conversation.”

That’s one level of uselessness. The other is the potential consequences of her entirely hypothetical election to the U.S. Senate.

Continue reading

Voldemort, Palpatine To Hold Fundraiser For Christina Nolan

Well, well. On Monday afternoon, we learned that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christina Nolan would hold an all-star D.C. fundraiser Tuesday night featuring… uh… Mitch McConnell, Bill Barr, and a bunch of other Republicans.

On Monday evening, Politico reported that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.

This ought to stick to Nolan like hot tar for the duration of her bid to succeed Patrick Leahy. Nolan, that alleged moderate Republican, is jetting off to our nation’s capital so Mitch Fucking McConnell can raise money for her campaign.

McConnell is the man most responsible for this Supreme Court decision. He is responsible for shackling women to their rapists or abusers and forcing them to choose between giving birth or seeking illegal and likely dangerous off–the-books abortions. He is the man who stole two Supreme Court seats and paved the way for this revolting development.

For those just joining us, McConnell blocked action on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for almost a full year, leaving the seat open for Brett “I Like Beer” Kavanaugh — and then frogmarched Amy Coney Barrett to confirmation in record time before the 2020 election could take that power away from him.

And Nolan is going to take his money, come back to Vermont, and pretend that nothing is wrong? No fucking way.

(Apologies for readers with tender sensibilities, but there are times when nothing but bad language will suffice. This is one of those times. We’re just getting started.)

Continue reading