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VPR poll shows tied gubernatorial race

(VPR graphic)

MONTPELIER — Republican Phil Scott and Democrat Sue Minter are locked in a tie race for governor with three weeks to go and 14 percent of voters undecided, according to a Vermont Public Radio poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute released Wednesday. According to the poll results, Scott, the incumbent lieutenant governor, has a 1 percentage point lead over Sue Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation — 39 percent to 38 percent. Liberty Union candidate Bill Lee, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos, received 2 percent support. But 14 percent of the likely voters polled said they have yet to make up their mind. The poll of 650 likely voters has a 3.8 percent margin of error and includes live interviews from a mix of cell and land line phones. Continue Reading →

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Sanders hitting the trail for Dems in Vermont

Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. gestures as he speaks during a campaign stop, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Peterborough, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

MONTPELIER — Sen. Bernie Sanders will begin putting his star power to work on behalf of gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter and other Democratic candidates this weekend with six events around the state. Sanders, Vermont’s independent U.S. senator who won the state’s Democratic presidential primary over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in March with 86 percent of the vote, has been slow to help Vermont Democrats. But after issuing a news release Thursday in which he endorsed the Democratic slate of statewide candidates, he is finally hitting the campaign trail with them, according to Minter’s campaign. Sanders will hold the first of six planned events on Friday at 5 p.m. at Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Alumni Hall in Montpelier. On Saturday, Sanders will take part in a 9 a.m. get out the vote event somewhere in Addison County and rallies in Bennington and Rutland. Continue Reading →

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Milne ad: Leahy has a sickness

Scott Milne (VPR photo)

MONTPELIER — Republican Scott Milne has released his first video ad against longtime U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, but the ad will only run online and not on television. Milne, the Republican who nearly toppled Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin in the 2014 gubernatorial race, has struggled to gain traction against Leahy, who is seeking his eighth term in Washington. Milne’s campaign has largely focused his campaign on attacking Leahy for being a “career politician.” Until this week he did not even have an issues section on his campaign website. In the 30-second video ad, Milne continues his assault on Leahy’s longevity in Washington. “Career Politician Patrick Leahy has caught the bug. Continue Reading →

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Douglas vouches for Scott in new RGA ad

Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas

MONTPELIER — Former Republican Gov. Jim Douglas is vouching for Republican gubernatorial nominee Phil Scott in a new ad released Wednesday by the Republican Governors Association. The 30-second ad features Douglas discussing his “good friend” Scott, the state’s incumbent lieutenant governor. “Ever since he came to the State Senate, Phil has been able to reach across the aisle,” the former governor says in the ad. “He’s not one of these ivory tower politicians who doesn’t relate well to the people he serves.”

Douglas, who served four terms as Vermont’s top officeholder, has been absent from the campaign trail. But in the RGA’s ad, which it is funding through its Vermont-based PAC, A Stronger Vermont, he labels Scott “somebody the people can trust.”

“Phil is the epitome of a small business owner in Vermont – someone who has seen the economy rise and fall, but has been able to persevere,” he says. Continue Reading →

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Brock launches negative radio ads

Randy Brock

MONTPELIER — Randy Brock, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, is going on the offensive against Democratic and Progressive nominee David Zuckerman in two new, negative radio ads he released Monday. Brock released two 60-second ads that Brock’s campaign says draws “sharp and important contrast between his record in public service and that of his opponent on the issues of judgment, character and integrity.”

In one ad, Brock recounts how Zuckerman collected mileage reimbursement as a lawmaker when he did not drive to the State House himself, among other accusations. “He’s billed the taxpayers for mileage he never drove. He’s introduced legislation for personal financial gain. He’s a strong supporter of laws that will expose our school children to dangerous diseases by discouraging vaccination. Continue Reading →

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Vermont Dems wonder where Bernie is

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a primary night rally in Essex Junction, Vt., Tuesday, March 1, 2016, on Super Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

MONTPELIER — With about five weeks to go before the general election, some Vermont Democrats are wondering why U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is sitting on the sidelines of what appears to be a toss-up election for governor. Sanders, the state’s junior senator who saw a meteoric rise in popularity during his failed effort to topple Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary, has personally endorsed Chittenden County Sen. David Zuckerman, who won the nomination of both the Democratic and Progressive Parties. But Sanders has remained silent in the race for governor, where Democrat Sue Minter is engaged in a battle with Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. Sanders, who is in the process of writing a book, launched a political group, Our Revolution, after the presidential primary that has endorsed some progressive candidates around the country. But Minter and the Vermont Democratic Party have yet to see Sanders use his personal star power or his political group to their benefit, something that is beginning to cause some consternation. Continue Reading →

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House GOP seeks shorter session, narrow focus on fiscal issues

Rep. Linda Myers, R-Essex Jct., leaves the podium after speaking at a House GOP news conference highlighting the caucus' electoral and legislative goals. (Times Argus/Stefan  Hard)

MONTPELIER — Vermont House Republicans say they are gunning for a substantial pick up of seats and will be pursuing a two-year state budget process and a complete focus on fiscal issues rather than new policies. More than two dozen House Republicans and Republican candidates gathered for a State House news conference Tuesday to highlight their goals for the upcoming general election and legislative biennium. House Minority Leader Don Turner, of Milton, said he hopes to lead the House in a new direction after the election. “It’s time for a new direction and a new way of thinking in Vermont. I want to lead that change in the House and I want to be looking for support from all the Republican colleagues, across party lines — independents and Democrats — because I believe that we cannot sustain this pace of heavy spending and recklessly taxing Vermonters to no end,” Turner told reporters. Continue Reading →

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Haley cancels Vermont visit, former Massachusetts Gov. Swift to fill in

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

MONTPELIER — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has canceled her scheduled Wednesday appearance at a Vermont Republican Party fundraiser as Hurricane Matthew steams toward the U.S. and threatens her state’s coastline. Haley was slated to serve as the key attraction at the party’s Hilton Hotel fundraiser, which was supposed to feature a “roundtable” and private reception with Haley for sponsors before the dinner. A dinner ticket to the event will cost $75, according to the Vermont GOP’s website. The top level sponsorship for the fundraiser costs $4,000 and includes two tickets to the roundtable, four tickets to the reception with Haley and four reserved seating dinner tickets. Lesser sponsorships will cost $2,500, $1,000 and $500. Continue Reading →

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FBI reviewing post card sent to Vermont Dems

The front of a questionable post card sent to the Vermont Democratic Party from an unknown source. (Courtesy of the Vermont Democratic Party)

MONTPELIER — A postcard with racial undertones received by the executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party, which could be construed as a threat, has been sent to the FBI for review by the state’s federal prosecutor. The postcard, received on Sept. 27, was sent to Vermont Democratic Party Executive Director Conor Casey. It features a picture of the late, former West Virginia Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd in a Ku Klux Klan robe, and another picture of Byrd kissing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The postcard, postmarked in Delaware, states “See you on the 8th” on the back, perhaps a reference to the Nov. Continue Reading →

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