Tag Archives: Nick Charyk

“Can you believe that fucker?”

Matt Dunne has achieved the impossible: he’s made me feel sympathy for Peter Galbraith.

The latter, whom I once dubbed “The Most Hated Man in the Senate” for his narcissistic rampages through the fields of parliamentary procedure, is the author of this post’s headline. Galbraith was speaking of Dunne, who continued a series of stunning, unforced errors that has almost certainly landed his once-promising political career in the dustbin of history.

And to think that one week ago none of this had happened, and I was actively pondering which Democrat to vote for in the primary. Seriously, I didn’t vote early because I couldn’t make up my mind.

The latest in Dunne’s cavalcade of blunders concerned his late decision to loan his own campaign some $95,000, as he desperately tried to pull his candidacy out of a self-inflicted tailspin.

The problem, as Seven Days‘ Paul Heintz first reported, is that Dunne had stated throughout his campaign, as a matter of high principle, that he would not use his own money to fill his campaign coffers. The statement is still on his campaign website: 

I will personally be adhering to the contribution limits set for an individual Vermonter, and will not be self funding the campaign above those limits.  

And we’re calling on all the other candidates in the race to do the same and abstain from self-funding their campaigns.   

The bold print is Dunne’s.

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How green is your campaign cash?

Campaign finance filing day always brings out a mild strain of Vermont nativism, as candidates rush to claim a Real People Badge of Honor by touting contributions from small donors and authentic Vermonters and throwing shade on opponents who dare to import their campaign cash.

This week, Republicans are touting the fact that Phil Scott took in more cash from Vermonters than anyone else (not including Bruce Lisman’s self-funding). More than three-fourths of Scott’s money is Vermont green.

The most flatlander-oriented campaign, on the other hand, is Matt Dunne’s. He raised $322,000 in Other People’s Money, thanks in large part to his years in the tech industry. Shocking! Dunne’s bankroll is as much California pastel as Green Mountain Green.

Which, honestly, who cares?

Well, the media do — on campaign finance filing day, at least. The writers of political press releases certainly make a big deal of it, seeking that real-deal Green Mountainicity.

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Brainstormin’ with Mr. Google

The candidate works the room.

The candidate works the room.

Matt Dunne, former state senator, current Google exec and Democratic candidate for governor, is slow-rolling his campaign unveil with a series of Community Forums around the state. On Tuesday night, he made a stop in downtown Montpelier; about 20 people gathered in the upstairs offices of Local 64, a coworking space. (Appropriately trendy location, yes?) Some nibbly snacks were on offer, as well as appropriately local beer. (Your Reporter contented himself with an excellent iced tea purchased at the North Branch Cafe downstairs.)

The takeaway: ehh, it was a perfectly cromulent way to low-key a campaign launch. Nothing wrong with the idea. But I have to admit, I take these kinds of events with a massive grain of salt.

First, it’s not exactly a new concept. Bruce Lisman reintroduced himself to Vermonters with a Listening Tour, and Phil Scott spent a few nights last winter holding Economy Pitches. If Matt Dunne is trying to present himself as a different kind of candidate, borrowing chapters from the Phil Scott Playbook isn’t the best way to make that case. (Nothing against Phil, he’s just not a cutting-edge kind of guy.)

Second, when I walk into a room containing oversized pads of white paper on easels and a goodly supply of Sharpies, something inside me shrivels up a little. I guess it’s all those idea sessions I sat through in my previous working lives. The assembled are addressed with great earnestness, we offer ideas, they get written down on the white pads, the full pages get taped to the walls, everybody leaves, and — in my experience — nothing much comes of it.

Dunne promised otherwise. “The whole list will be posted online,” he said at the event’s conclusion. After seeking further input, he said, the ideas gathered at the forums “will be incorporated into our platform.”

I kinda hope not. But we’ll get to that later.

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