Tag Archives: Samantha Lefebvre

Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Win, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss

Congratulations to Jarrod Sammis, newly elected member of the Vermont House in the Rutland-3 district…

… and the only one on my long list of far-right Republican candidates who didn’t lose.

For those keeping score, and you bet I am, that’s one win and 23 losses. Which kinda explains my previous post about how the Vermont Republican Party has led itself, with supreme confidence, deep into the political wilderness with no idea what to do next except Keep Striding Forward!

That 1-23 record wasn’t the only bad news for Team Extreme. They also lost a bunch of races featuring far-right candidates I never got around to covering. Remember that 16 of the 21 Republican Senate candidates were extremists? Well, 12 of them lost. They may have picked up one seat at best. In the House, where the Republican ticket had 42 in irregular earth orbit, 35 of them lost. And that included three incumbent representatives who won’t be coming back: Vicky Strong, Sally Achey, and VTGOP Vice Chair Samantha Lefebvre.

Instead of bulking up their ranks and possibly upending caucus leadership, the extremists actually lost ground. It was a thorough rebuke for ultraconservatism in Vermont.

But let’s start with their only bright spot, the guy with a YouTube channel full of inflammatory videos that revealed an unhealthy fascination with guns and a probably-controlled desire to train them on socialists and communists. The channel he quickly deleted when it became public knowledge, claiming he did so to [checks notes] protect his family’s privacy. Sammis eked out a two-point win in reliably conservative territory. Bully for him.

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LIe Down With Dogs…

Ah, what a happy group of Republicans! There’s Gov. Phil Scott, Lite-Gov candidate Sen. Joe Benning, and U.S. Senate candidate Gerald Malloy. I can’t identify all of the other people, but I know quite a few.

Next to the governor is state Sen. Russ Ingalls, almost certainly the most conservative person in the Senate. The people in the back row behind Benning are House candidates Lloyd and Lynn Dike, state Rep. (and VTGOP vice chair) Samantha Lefebvre, and House candidate Joe Gervais. Front row, yellow shirt, state Senate candidate and far-right rabble-rouser John Klar, who posted the picture on his Facebook page. The three on the right are three House candidates: Rob North, James McClay, and Jon Christiano. (North is the subject of an upcoming “steath conservative” post.)

That’s a whole bunch of extremists in the company of Smilin’ Phil.

I previously wrote that the extremists have taken over the Vermont Republican Party. They’re in party leadership, they’re on the state and county committees, and they constitute a goodly share of the Republican ticket.

Until now, Scott has kept his distance. Not any more. He has made common cause with the nutbars. Phil Scott owns this Republican Party and should be made to answer for every one of the people in this photograph.

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Like It Or Not, This Is Your VTGOP

Taking a pause from my ongoing series about stealth conservatives and other extremists who litter the Vermont Republican Party’s ticket this year, to note that these people can’t be classed as the exception. They are the norm. It’s Phil Scott who’s the exception. The party he once knew and loved is no longer with us and it ain’t coming back.

For example, take the above photograph and focus on the four centermost figures. The fellow with the bright red bowtie is Samuel Douglass, stealth conservative candidate previously uncovered in this space as a guy who thinks Fox News isn’t conservative enough. The gent to his right is the Patron Saint of Plausibly Moderate Republicanism, Jim Douglas. Behind Douglas is VTGOP chair Paul Dame. To Douglas’ right is state Rep. Samantha Lefebvre, one of 2020’s successful crop of stealth candidates.

Oh, and she’s now the vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party.

Yeah, I missed the memo. The VTGOP website includes no information about party officials, presumably to avoid embarrassing any of them. But the original caption to this photo identified her as vice chair.

It’s another sad step toward the outer boundaries of political sensibility for the once-dominant party. Its top positions are held by extremists of various kinds, and its slate of candidates is lousy with election truthers, QAnon adherents, Covid deniers and hard-core Trumpers. And maybe the odd militia type. Not to mention the virulently anti-trans chair of the biggest city party in the state.

Ladies, gentlemen and others, this is your VTGOP. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

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Stealth Conservatives: Fox News Is Too Liberal

Whether you want to or not, meet Samuel A. Douglass, Republican candidate for state Senate in the Orleans district. He’s challenging longtime incumbent Democrat Bobby Starr, which would seem to be a hopeless enterprise. But the district’s boundaries changed quite a bit in reapportionment. There are hopes in Republican circles and a wee bit of fear among Democrats that this guy might actually win.

So it behooves us to get to know Mr. Douglass, because he is one of the most stealthy of this year’s crop of stealth conservatives. He portrays himself as half crunchy-granola country boy and half “commonsense” Republican. The reality, however, is much different. “Fox News is only sort of right-leaning” is a thing he said. He thinks 80% of American journalism is “left-leaning,” and has a favorable impression of Newsmax.

Oh, and he thinks the acquittal of triple murderer Kyle Rittenhouse constituted “justice.” So no, he’s not your grandfather’s Republican.

Douglass’ campaign website is heavy on pictures and light on text. The words he does employ are ambiguous at best, with the faintest of dog whistles penetrating the fog. The closest thing to an agenda is a page entitled “My Focus & Goals,” which runs a bit under 800 words and contains no specifics whatsoever. Still, the nutbaggery can’t be completely concealed.

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Well, This Would Be An Improvement

That just about sums up the brief, undistinguished legislative career of ultraconservative state Rep. Sally Achey. Which means it’s extremely heartening to see former representative (and Prog caucus chief) Robin Chesnut-Tangerman stepping back into the fray,

The news was first reported by Guy Page at the Vermont Daily Chronicle, which ought to be a little bit embarrassing for what’s left of the Vermont political press. I mean, Guy Page, Progressive insider?

Chesnut-Tangerman was chosen by the district Democratic Party committee after Democratic primary winner Chris Hoyt withdrew for family reasons. Smart choice.

In 2020, Chesnut-Tangerman lost to Achey by a mere 32 votes out of 2,809 cast. Achey was a Klar Klan ReKruit, a member of “Farmer” John Klar’s merry Agripublican band of extremists. Her victory was a calamity for the Progressive Party and for the district, since Achey has achieved nothing in her two years in office except sitting on the House Energy & Technology Committee, which seems like somebody’s idea of a bad joke, and complaining about climate change legislation.

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Still a Dumpster Fire

Just in case you thought a new party chair meant significant change in the Vermont Republican Party… just in case you bought those media references to the “moderate” incoming chair… Here’s the first initiative birthed by said chair.

Now, that’s just about the loudest dog whistle ever blown.

“Let’s Go Brandon” is, of course, the juvenile chant adopted by rabid right-wingers as a stand-in for “Fuck Joe Biden.” (Insert Beavis and Butthead laugh here.)

The VTGOP can claim the barest hint of a fig leaf for this nonsense in that (1) Brandon is an actual town, and (2) it’s the hometown of new chair Paul Dame. But we know what’s going on here. We know why the first rally is not in Montpelier or Burlington or St. Albans or Rutland.

It’s in Brandon because Dame’s first instinct — and/or his only option — is to appeal to the base. (The party is selling a wide array of “Let’s Go Brandon” merchandise, too. Cashing in on far-right hatred is such a good look.)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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A Republican Lawmaker Hops On Board the Klar Klan Kruiser

The wonderful folks who brought you the CovidCruiser bus to the January 6 insurrection are back in business, baby! Now it’s the KKK Traveling Road Show, featuring a select group of speakers who are convinced that Critical Race Theory is the worst thing since, I dunno, Sputnik?

No, Burisma. Let’s go with Burisma.

The Klar Klan Kruiser is the brainchild of Gregory Thayer, a Rutland accountant and QAnon-adjacent conspiratorialist. It’s making stops tonight (Wednesday 7/14) in Barre and Friday in St. Albans. In each venue, a series of speakers will rant and rave about CRT for what’s likely to be a small audience of like-minded folks.

So who’s on the guest list for tonight? Well, Thayer himself, former gubernatorial candidate John Klar, Our Lady of the CovidCruiser Ellie Martin, “Former Educators” Martha Hafner and Alice Flanders, and first-term Rep. Samantha Lefebvre (R-Orange).

The latter is the subject of this post.

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Hey, We’ve Got an Election Truther on the Committee That Oversees Elections

This isn’t going to matter in the end, because the House Government Operations Committee is going to approve some version of S.15, a bill to improve voter access and the electoral process. But one of the three Republicans on the committee is making a fool of herself by injecting the kind of conspiracy thinking that’s normally absent from legislative debate or mainstream Vermont politics.

All three Republicans are trying to throw cold water on the idea of mail-in ballots, drop boxes and other provisions that drove voter turnout to historic levels last year. Absurd hypotheticals were bustin’ out all over. But first-term Rep. Samantha Lefebvre (R-QAnon) is lapping the field in persistent nuttiness.

(By the way, we’ve got Lefebvre this year instead of defeated Democrat Carl Demrow, which is about as bad a tradeoff as Art Peterson for Dave Potter. 2020 was a sneaky bad year for House Democrats.)

On at least two separate occasions, Lefebvre floated a serious accusation that somebody heard on a call-in radio program without being able to offer any specifics.

So, the details. Apparently, somebody called in to WVMT’s “The Morning Drive with Marcus and Kurt” and said that a Middlebury landlord had seen Middlebury College students collecting and filling out unclaimed absentee ballots. I’m going to reproduce her question in full below, because it’s a real beaut.

The guest on the show was Secretary of State Jim Condos. He urged the caller to file a report so it could be investigated.

This didn’t stop Lefebvre from flogging this third-hand anonymous accusation of something that allegedly happened six months ago as proof that mail-in ballots are an open invitation to vote fraud.

And, of course, neither the caller nor the landlord nor anyone else on God’s green earth ever filed a report with Condos’ office. Hey, it’s easier to push a conspiracy theory if you don’t have to provide actual evidence.

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