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Friday, September 7, 2012

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Last Friday we introduced The Scoreboard, our weekly reckoning of winners and losers in Vermont politics and news. Displaying remarkable consistency for a blog, we're doing it again today.

This time, we surveyed a number of our colleagues in politics, government and the media to seek their nominations. What are they focused on? This week's kerfuffle over the Progressive gubernatorial nomination.

We'd love to hear your ideas too. Feel free to e-mail them our way by the end of the day each Thursday. We promise to keep your suggestions to ourselves — and your identities secret.

Without further ado, we bring you The Scoreboard, for the week of September 7:

Winners:

  • Annette Smith — Until last week, this Danby off-the-grid-er was known mostly to liberal activists and reporters looking for a pithy, anti-wind quip. No longer. Smith's almost-tie for the Progressive gubernatorial nomination — which she could still win in a recount — has elevated her stature, bolstering her advocacy work for Vermonters for a Clean Environment. If Smith ends up prevailing in a recount, look for Gov. Peter Shumlin on next week's loser list: he'll face a feisty adversary in this fall's debates.
  • West Windsor — I'll admit that I hadn't quite heard of the place until last weekend. And, yes, Mitt Romney's campaign initially referred to the town hosting the candidate's debate camp as Reading. And, yes, due to an editing error, I did mistakenly refer to it as "West Reading" in this week's Fair Game. And, yes, Romney fled the town for New Hampshire to drop by a pizza place and conduct television interviews. But still, the Republican nominee has finally, finally, put West Windsor on the map. Could Romney be to West Windsor as Phish was to Coventry?
  • Doug Hoffer and Vince Illuzzi — They may be running against each other, but both candidates for state auditor had a good week. Nearly every media outlet in the state (except this one) covered Illuzzi's Barre campaign kickoff. And Hoffer finally figured out how to get press: attack incumbent auditor Tom Salmon and wait for him to snap back. No matter that Salmon's not even on the ballot!
  • Peter Shumlin — Blue state governors like Shumlin don't usually get top billing at Democratic conventions, and surely Vermont's gov didn't expect a speaking role in Charlotte. But as heir apparent to the chairmanship of the Democratic Governors Association, Shummy certainly schmoozed it up this week with national political figures and donors alike. His appearance at a Politico forum on health care reform further established his policy bonafides. And it provided a stark contrast to challenger Randy Brock's "take out the trash day" health care news dump back home in Vermont.

Losers:

  • Jim Condos — So Vermont's Secretary of State called us up to complain about his inclusion in last week's inaugural Scoreboard, but we're afraid to say he's made the list again. The apparent bungling of the write-in count in the Progressive gubernatorial contest is just sloppy. And his explanation to Seven Days' Andy Bromage of how his office misread faxed election results wasn't exactly reassuring: "If you look at the original, it looks like it was a zero and someone added a leg to it." You know you're on tough times when you include the following quote in a press release, as Condos did Wednesday: “As I grew up, my father always told me that if a mistake is made, own up to it, learn from it, and move on!”
  • The Progressive Party — The other losers in Vermont's own hanging chad situation were the Progs, for two reasons: 1. Their own candidate for governor, Martha Abbott, either barely beat or tied or barely lost to a reluctant write-in candidate. That's not too hot. 2. Media attention to the Progressive gubernatorial contest has shone a light on the Progs' cigar-chomping, backroom deal with Democrats to pull Abbott out of the race and back Shumlin. So much for an independent third party!
  • Randy Brock — Sure, Brock can complain about Shumlin's decision to limit this fall's gubernatorial debates to those sponsored by the media. And he should. We in the media can complain too, because we'll have fewer opportunities to see the two in action. But in the end, voters really just don't care — and eventually Brock's debate-dodging hit on Shumlin will grow stale. Just ask T.J. Donovan. Shumlin's strategy this campaign season is clearly to starve Brock of any oxygen. So far, it's working.
  • Small-Dollar Politics —In yet another blow to keeping big money out of politics, a new Republican "super PAC" sprang up this week and is already dumping at least $70,000 in Vermont races, as the Vermont Press Bureau's Peter Hirschfeld reported Thursday. Surely it won't take long for the liberals over at Vermont Priorities to come up with cash for a counter-punch.

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About The Author

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz

Bio:
Paul Heintz is a staff writer and political editor for Seven Days. He wrote the "Fair Game" political column from May 2012 through December 2016.

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