Tag Archives: Peter Galbraith

And in the morning, the boulder’s back at the bottom of the hill

You could understand if Phil Scott and Sue Minter find themselves sympathizing with the plight of Sisyphus. Having won their respective primaries, they now face the task of refilling their nearly-empty warchests, and ASAP if you please.

The major-party nominees raised an ungodly (by Vermont standards) amount of money, and spent almost all of it just to get through their primaries.

The grim totals: Minter raised more than a million dollars — and spent all but $54,000 fending off the weaker-than-expected candidacies of Matt Dunne and Peter Galbraith.

Scott enters the general campaign with $158,000 in the bank. But he entered the primary race with $95K left over from his previous walkovers for lieutenant governor. Without that cushion, he’d be dead even with Minter in cash on hand. In terms of money raised during the current campaign, he actually trails both Minter and Dunne.

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The Energy Rebellion is a fizzle

In the runup to Tuesday’s primary, I suggested that Peter Galbraith’s candidacy could backfire on his allies in the anti-renewable camp. I thought he was likely to finish a poor third, and that could damage the antis’ claim to represent a sizable and growing force in Vermont politics.

Turns out, they may be loud but they’re not terribly numerous. Galbraith did worse than I thought, finishing with a mere nine percent of the Democratic primary vote.

It remains to be seen if Galbraith’s poor showing diminishes the pull of groups like Vermonters for a Clean Environment and Energize Vermont; but it sure can’t help them.

I can almost hear them arguing that their numbers were split among Galbraith and Republicans Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman. But even if Scott wins the governorship, Democrats will hold the legislative power, and they should be unimpressed by the small number of anti-wind voters in Democratic ranks.

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“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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Matt Dunne just lost my vote

I’ve been thinking about the race for governor since the very beginning. I’ve never felt a sense of clarity because I thought the two frontrunners, Matt Dunne and Sue Minter, were both good candidates. There were good reasons to go either way.

Until now.

Dunne just released a renewable energy siting policy that would make it much harder to expand our renewable capability. It would give veto power over large-scale wind projects to local communities. In all respects, it adopts the rhetoric of the anti-renewable movement.

And, in a turn that may be unprecedented in our politics or anyone else’s, his press release includes a quote from his gubernatorial rival, Peter Galbraith, a persistent opponent of ridgeline wind.

Seriously, has that ever happened before?

(Yes, I know it happened earlier in the cycle when Dunne adopted Galbraith’s stance on corporate contributions. But at the time, Galbraith hadn’t officially entered the race. Now, so close to the primary? That’s a whole different ballgame.)

There’s something fundamentally Nixonian about this. Two candidates ganging up on Sue Minter — who I must now presume is the front-runner, and clearly the biggest threat to Dunne’s election.

It’s also very close to a white flag from Galbraith, a tacit acknowledgment that he’s not going to win.

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Minter outraises Dunne: the Democratic filings

I’ve already written my take on the Republican gubernatorial campaign finance reports; now it’s the Democrats’ turn.

Topline: A great three months for Sue Minter; a slower pace for the Matt Dunne gravy train; and Peter Galbraith Is His Own Best Friend.

Minter raised almost $400,000 between March 15 and July 15. On the other hand, she spent an even healthier $437,000 for the period, leaving her with about $300K in cash on hand.

Dunne raised $250,000 for the quarter, which would be pretty damn good if not for Minter’s total and the fact that he used to have a substantial lead in campaign cash. That lead is gone. He’s got about $200K left in the till.

Galbraith, meanwhile, has raised a total of $320,000 (he hadn’t begun to fundraise at the March filing deadline), of which $185,000 came from his own pocket. He’s spent all but $35,000, so if he should pull a stunning upset in the primary, he’ll be hard up for the fall campaign.

Except, of course, that thanks to his oil wealth he can write himself virtually unlimited checks.

Anyway, let’s move on to details and such.

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Bruce’s Worst Investment, and Other Gleanings from Campaign Finance Day

So, finally, we get our second window into the money game behind the primary campaigns. A few toplines:

— Bruce Lisman is spending gobs of cash and getting bupkis in return

— Phil Scott’s chugging along; will have to pick up the pace after the primary

— Sue Minter pulls ahead in the Democratic fundraising game

— Matt Dunne’s early momentum slows a bit

— Peter Galbraith is keeping his own campaign alive. Barely

And now, the details.

Wall Street millionaire Bruce Lisman has put $1.6 million of his own money into his campaign, raised precious little money from others, and has been spending at a blistering pace. He’s raised more than $1.8 million, but he has less than $200,000 cash on hand.

Well, he can always write more checks.

But let’s stop for a moment and savor the fact that Bruce Lisman has already spent more money than any gubernatorial candidate in Vermont history — and the primary is still three and a half weeks away. And he places dismally in the available polls.

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Minter’s haul

Endorsements don’t generally move the needle much. They’re mainly of note to the political media, good for a quick space-filler on a slow newsday, quickly forgotten.

Labor unions are an exception to some extent, because if the endorsement rings true with the rank and file, the union can deliver a batch of votes — especially important in a low-turnout primary.

But when one politico endorses another, it’s not much of a deal.

(It’s a bigger deal when one politico fails to deliver an expected endorsement, as in numerous Republicans not backing Trump.  As commenter David Ellenbogen pointed out, Bernie Sanders has not endorsed David Zuckerman for lieutenant governor. Bernie’s open support for Chris Pearson was a financial windfall for Pearson’s Senate campaign. But no love for Zuckerman. Interesting.)

A limited exception to the no-big-deal rule can be found in the case of Sue Minter’s announcement yesterday that she has the backing of dozens of current and former state lawmakers, including many key players in the Legislature.

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