Thursday, October 20, 2016

Media Note: Getler Out, Fogler in at Burlington Free Press

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 6:01 PM

Burlington Free Press website - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Burlington Free Press website
After 22 months on the job, Burlington Free Press publisher Al Getler has been replaced by his predecessor, the newspaper announced Thursday. The Gannett-owned daily provided no explanation for Getler's departure. He declined to comment.

Returning to the paper's top job is Jim Fogler, who served as publisher for four years before leaving in September 2014 to become vice president of business development at Party City. Fogler returned to journalism — and Gannett — in January, when he took a job as publisher of the Poughkeepsie Journal 

According to the Free Press story announcing the transition, Fogler will now publish both papers. Even after he took the job in Poughkeepsie, the story said, he continued to commute between the two regions, because his family remained in South Burlington. 

"I'm excited to be back, and I look forward to reconnecting with the community as well as the team here," Fogler told the Free Press' Dan D'Ambrosio. "My plan is to split my time evenly between the two sites."

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Jane Sanders Calls Shumlin’s Clinton Endorsement ‘Worthless’

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Jane O’Meara Sanders in May 2015 - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Jane O’Meara Sanders in May 2015
Updated at 3:07 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, attacked Gov. Peter Shumlin over Twitter Thursday after an email emerged claiming she “begged” him not to endorse Hillary Clinton for president last year.

“1st, I don’t beg,” O’Meara Sanders tweeted Thursday morning. “Knew Gov Shumlin endorsement of HRC worthless,told him his timing as @BernieSanders announced was pathetic crass politics.”
The senator’s wife was responding to an internal Clinton campaign email allegedly obtained by Russian hackers and posted online by WikiLeaks. In the May 2015 message, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told the candidate that he had just spoken with Shumlin and an unnamed political adviser. 

“He called Bernie a few hours ago and said he’s endorsing you, Madame Secretary,” Mook wrote of the governor. “It will be public at 3:30 today. This was a bold move for him so it would be great if you can call and say thanks.”

Mook added, “Apparently Jane Sanders has now called him twice and begged him to change his mind and he’s stood firm.”

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Courting Democrats, Republican Phil Scott Airs a Familiar Ad

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 12:39 PM

Stop me if this sounds familiar: Vermont's Republican gubernatorial nominee released a new television advertisement Thursday featuring prominent Democrats singing his praises.

Nope, it wasn't Jim Douglas, who won four races for governor from 2002 through 2008: 

And it wasn't Brian Dubie, who lost the 2010 gubernatorial contest:

It was Lt. Gov. Phil Scott — the latest in a long line of Vermont Republicans who've sought statewide office in an increasingly Democratic state:

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Planned Parenthood Super PAC Hits Scott Over Abortion Rights

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 3:31 PM

  • Screenshot
As congressional Republicans sought to defund Planned Parenthood last summer, Vermont Lt. Gov. Phil Scott took a different approach. The Republican gubernatorial candidate asked for a tour of the organization's Burlington Health Center. 

"We just sat down and talked about what they do, how they help and the essential services they provide," Scott told Seven Days last December. "I don't think we should be spending our time defunding Planned Parenthood. They do really good work for a lot of people in need."

The goodwill gesture apparently went unnoticed. On Wednesday morning, a super PAC financed by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Democratic Governors Association launched a $132,000 television advertising blitz questioning Scott's support for abortion rights. 

"Two very different choices for Vermont's next governor," the ad's narrator says. "Phil Scott supported restrictions on a woman's right to choose. And Vermont Right to Life, which opposes all abortion — even for rape and incest — recommended Phil Scott."
Democratic nominee Sue Minter, the narrator says, is "the better choice" and would be "a governor we can trust."

According to Scott's campaign coordinator, Brittney Wilson, the ad is "dishonest and deceitful." 

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VPR Poll Shows Tie in Governor's Race, 28-Point Lead for Clinton

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 8:21 AM

Sue Minter and Phil Scott are in a dead heat, the new poll shows. - FILE
  • File
  • Sue Minter and Phil Scott are in a dead heat, the new poll shows.
Updated at 9:01 a.m.

A new poll
commissioned by Vermont Public Radio finds that the leading candidates for governor are statistically tied.

Among likely voters surveyed over the first two weeks of October, 39 percent said they support Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and 38 percent prefer Democratic former transportation secretary Sue Minter. That's within the poll's 3.9 percent margin of error.

Some 14 percent of voters remain undecided in the gubernatorial race and another 2 percent back retired Major League Baseball pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee of the Liberty Union Party.

The survey, which was conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute, found that the presidential race isn't even close in Vermont.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is supported by 45 percent of likely voters, while only 17 percent plan to vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump. Libertarian Gary Johnson picked up just 4 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein 3 percent. Another 4 percent said they would vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — even though the former presidential candidate isn't on the ballot.

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Challengers Team Up Against Leahy at First U.S. Senate Debate

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 12:01 AM

Sen. Patrick Leahy at a Channel 17 debate Tuesday in Burlington - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy at a Channel 17 debate Tuesday in Burlington
In the first debate of Vermont's U.S. Senate race Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) four opponents wasted little time before lighting into the 42-year incumbent.

Asked what they saw as "the single biggest issue" of the campaign, Leahy's challengers instead listed their biggest problems with him.

Republican Scott Milne called him a "career" politician. Independent Jerry Trudell criticized him for supporting Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) in the Democratic presidential primary. And U.S. Marijuana Party nominee Cris Ericson assailed him as a "bully," "sexist," "totalitarian," "fascist," "undemocratic" and, for good measure, "un-American."

Peter Diamondstone at a Channel 17 debate Tuesday in Burlington - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Peter Diamondstone at a Channel 17 debate Tuesday in Burlington
Liberty Union Party nominee Peter Diamondstone showed up seven minutes late to the debate, which was held at Channel 17's Burlington studios and simulcast on C-SPAN, but after catching his breath he managed to call the incumbent a "war criminal."

Leahy took the earlier allegations in stride. 

"It's kind of hard to respond to them," he said with a chuckle. "As the person who wrote the Violence Against Women Act and greatly expanded it, I don't think there's any group of women in this country that call me sexist." 

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Minter Slams Scott Over Tax She Would Have Raised Higher

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 9:18 AM

  • Dreamstime
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter and Republican rival Phil Scott have spent the campaign season telling half-truths about their respective tax records

In one recent television advertisement, Minter raises the dissembling to a whole new level. The ad, which the campaign did not post online, responds to Republican Governors Association attacks on the former transportation secretary. 

"These ads attacking Sue Minter are trying to trick you," her ad begins. "They're paid for by a national Republican group whose biggest funder is the oil billionaire Koch brothers."

That's true. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the RGA's top donor is Koch Industries. As Seven Days reported earlier this week, the RGA has spent $1.8 million promoting Scott and criticizing Minter.

"But here's the real trick," Minter's ad continues. "Phil Scott voted to raise the gas tax and supported a tax on every mile you drive. So while the Koch brothers are trying to hide Scott's Republican agenda, Sue Minter's the one working for Vermont families."

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Eschewing Corporate Cash, Minter Still Outraises Scott

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 12:13 AM

Sue Minter on Monday in Burlington - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sue Minter on Monday in Burlington
Boatright Companies of Birmingham, Alabama. Parro's Gun Shop & Police Supplies of Waterbury, Vermont. Bread Loaf Corporation of Middlebury, Vermont.

These are just a few of the 46 businesses that donated to Republican Phil Scott's gubernatorial campaign in late September and early October, according to his latest filing with the Secretary of State's Office. All told, the companies contributed $49,050 — or 36 percent of the $135,000 Scott raised during the 15-day reporting period that ended October 12. 

It's been like this all along. Since launching his campaign last December, Scott has collected more than $429,000 from corporate entities. That's 33 percent of the $1.31 million he's raised to date. (The incumbent lieutenant governor has raised another $20,500 from political action committees — many of which represent corporations or trade groups.)

Scott's opponent, Democrat Sue Minter, hasn't taken a dime from corporate entities — at least, not lately. Last May, after facing sustained pressure from a Democratic primary opponent, Matt Dunne, she returned $11,055 in corporate contributions and promised to leave them on the table in the future. 

Remarkably, Minter has still managed to raise more money than Scott — every single reporting period. Her latest disclosure, filed Saturday, shows that she raised $165,000 in the latest 15-day period and nearly $1.7 million since joining the race last October. 

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Sanders to Promote New Book in Burlington and Montpelier

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 9:26 PM
A week after Election Day, Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) account of his 2016 presidential campaign will arrive in a bookstore near you. A week after that, Sanders himself may arrive in a bookstore near you. 

Vermont's junior senator plans to embark on a three-week book tour (with a brief break for Thanksgiving) starting November 14 in New York City and concluding December 2 in San Francisco, according to publisher Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. The tour will touch down in Vermont on November 22 with stops in Burlington, Montpelier and Manchester. 

In the book, called Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, Sanders "shares his personal experiences from the campaign trail, recounting the details of his historic primary fight and the people who made it possible," according to the publisher. He also outlines a progressive agenda for "the millions looking to continue the political revolution." The book's publication date is November 15. 

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Leahy Raises Nearly 10 Times More Than Milne

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 12:04 AM

Sen. Patrick Leahy last month in Barre - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy last month in Barre
When it comes to campaign fundraising and spending, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Republican rival Scott Milne aren't even in the same league.

New disclosures filed late last week with the Federal Election Commission show that Leahy, a 42-year incumbent, raised more than $445,000 in the two and a half months ending September 30. He collected another $55,000 in that period through a leadership political action committee called Green Mountain PAC.

Milne, a Pomfret businessman, raised just $57,000 from donors during the three months ending September 30 — and contributed another $12,000 of his own cash to his long-shot bid. 

Since winning his last six-year term, Leahy has raised more than $4.67 million through his main campaign account, his latest filing shows. Milne, meanwhile, has collected just $74,000 — including $17,000 of his own money — since joining the race last May. 

In the lead-up to next month's election, Leahy has been drawing down some of his reserves. The incumbent Democrat spent nearly $649,000 in the most recent reporting period, roughly $297,000 of which went toward television advertising produced by the Philadelphia firm Shorr Johnson Magnus. Milne, who has no paid staff, spent a mere $35,000. 

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