Tag Archives: Libertarian

On the putative tightening of the gubernatorial race

A new poll in the Vermont governor’s race was released today. And, like another recent poll, it showed an apparent closing of the gap between Governor Shumlin and Scott Milne.

And this one came from a reputable source: CBS/New York Times/YouGov, instead of the right-leaning Rasmussen Reports.

On top of that, the new poll shows a closer race than Rasmussen. To recap, a CBS/NYT/Alphabet Soup poll taken in July gave Shumlin a 56-27 edge on Milne. The polling began, and ended after, Milne’s actual entry into the race. A couple weeks ago came the Rasmussen survey, which showed a 48-36 race. Which I pooh-poohed at the time, considering its source. But the latest survey is a tad closer: Shumlin 45% and Milne 35%, with 5% for other candidates and 15% undecided.

So, the question is, does this mean the race is truly getting close? Should the Governor be shaking in his boots?

In a word, no.

He does need to tend to his knitting, but this poll is less revealing than it seems. Three big reasons:

— Milne’s 35% reflects the hard-core Republican electorate. He’s done nothing to convince  independents or Democrats. 35% is, more or less, the default number for a generic Republican candidate.

— The poll includes three names. Inexplicably, none of them is Libertarian Dan Feliciano, who has emerged as a conservative spoiler in the race. It did offer three choices, but the third is not Feliciano but Emily Peyton. If Feliciano had been included, you’d have to think he would have siphoned off at least a few percentage points from Milne — perhaps making the race 45% to 30% with 5 for Feliciano. That doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to me, considering that Feliciano’s got the active support of some high-profile Republicans. (Peyton draws 2% support in the poll, with 3% opting for unnamed “other.”)

— The poll was taken between August 18 and September 2. Shumlin hadn’t even begun campaigning at the time. Sure, he held a lot of high-profile events, but he hadn’t started counter-attacking. And he’d suffered through months of bad publicity over health care, DCF, and school taxes.

What this poll indicates is that Shumlin has to generate fresh enthusiasm for his campaign and his governorship. But that’s right in his wheelhouse; he is an energetic and skilled campaigner. If he can’t spark a rebound in his poll numbers, I’ll be very surprised.

I expect Milne to hold steady in the mid-30s — unless Feliciano continues to gain ground. And I expect Shumlin to rebound into the low 50s, assuming he runs a smart campaign. This election may be closer than 2012’s (unless Milne keeps up his rumblin’, fumblin’ ways), but not by much.

But please, Governor, don’t rest on your laurels.

I guess I missed the memo: We’re taking Dan Feliciano seriously now?

This doesn’t add up. Take one Libertarian candidate for Governor; have him launch a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination, complete with the public support of exactly one Republican of any renown — Darcie Johnston, a Republican who’s on the outs with her party — shake it all up; and you have a serious, credible campaign? 


Libertarian Dan Feliciano held a news conference today, standing behind a folding table in a public park, to criticize Governor Shumlin’s budget policies. Now, a Libertarian presser usually doesn’t draw flies; but this time, WPTZ’s Stewart Ledbetter and the Freeploid’s Terri Hallenbeck showed up. I’m not sure why; Feliciano ain’t winning the primary. And on the Libertarian slate, Feliciano ain’t pulling more than a small minority of votes in November.

Boy, with all this media attention, Darcie Johnston must be happy as a pig in its customary environs. 

And Ledbetter’s story brands Feliciano only as a Republican. It doesn’t mention that he’s the Libertarian candidate. Rather, it puts him front and center in the Republican parade: 

Republicans went on the offensive Thursday, a day after Gov. Peter Shumlin and a panel of state legislators agreed on $31 million in adjustments to the new state budget. 

At a Burlington news conference, Dan Feliciano, a write-in candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, characterized Shumlin’s history of budget management a “carnival of incompetence.” 

Ledbetter goes on to quote Feliciano, give space for comment from the Governor, and finally shoehorn House Minority Leader Don Turner into the final paragraph. 

So, “Republicans” is defined as a lot of Feliciano and a skosh of Turner. Only the latter is an actual Republican. 

In her story, Hallenbeck at least points out that Feliciano is, first and foremost, a Libertarian candidate. Still, she gives his presser plenty of space, tossing in a comment from Don Turner for a bit of variety. 

I guess the Freeploid and Channel 5 wanted to run stories about a Republican response to this week’s budget tweaks. But shining the spotlight on Feliciano? Good grief. I wonder how Scott Milne feels about this; he’s had to cut back on campaign activity because HIS MOTHER DIED THIS WEEK. They haven’t even held the funeral yet, and reporters are chasing after Dan Feliciano because, I guess, Scott Milne isn’t returning phone calls?

If this keeps up, maybe Feliciano will be able to get himself an actual lectern. 

Addendum. Lest anyone think I’m unfairly disparaging Mr. Feliciano, my point is this: Usually, a candidate has to show some level of real support before earning the media’s attention. You wouldn’t see TV cameras at an Emily Peyton presser, for example. It’s just strange that WPTZ and the Freeploid chose to give Feliciano this much attention. And anointed him a central figure in Republican politics. That’s the phenomenon I found worthy of comment. 

Dan Feliciano lets Darcie Johnston go there

Yesterday, Republican political consultant Darcie “Hack” Johnston, now tooting her horn for Libertarian Dan Feliciano, unleashed a truly nasty personal attack against Scott Milne. In case you need a reminder:

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When I reported on her gratuitous slimeballing, I called on Feliciano to disassociate himself from the Hack’s Milne-shaming. Well, the candidate himself took to Twitter to issue a correction, to wit:

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Ohhhh. So I guess there’s no problem with insinuating that Milne is pro-drugs, as long as you get Feliciano’s resume right.

This is like a detective walking into a crime scene with a pool of blood on the floor, and stepping over it to straighten a crooked picture frame on the wall. C’mon, Dan, you can do better. I hope.