Vermonters First, a new conservative-oriented "super PAC," will back two down-ticket Republicans in a two-week burst of advertising slated to hit the airwaves Monday.
The group plans to run two 15-second commercials spotlighting Republican state auditor candidate Vince Illuzzi and Republican state treasurer candidate Wendy Wilton.
"Unfortunately, both through the media and elected officials, we're a lot of the time only hearing one perspective," said Tayt Brooks, the GOP operative who founded the group. "I certainly think it's important to have two sides of the issues debated and bring some balance back to the state."
While Brooks would not confirm the price tag of the group's ad buy, he did confirm that it would initially support Illuzzi and Wilton.
"Both Vince and Wendy bring a real good voice to their respective races," he said.
Illuzzi, a longtime state senator from the Northeast Kingdom, is running against Democrat and Progressive Doug Hoffer to fill the state auditor post being vacated by fellow Republican Tom Salmon. Wilton, the Rutland City treasurer, is challenging incumbent Beth Pearce, who was appointed to the post in January 2011.
Featuring video of Illuzzi and text of newspaper articles praising him, the ad supporting Illuzzi includes a voice-over saying he "has a proven record of fighting for good jobs and good government." It continues: "As auditor, he'll continue to make Vermont stronger, with a watchful eye and commitment to accountability."
The Wilton ad calls her "a fiscal trailblazer," saying, "As city treasurer, Wilton turned Rutland's $5 million deficit into a $3.8 million surplus." Oddly, the ad starts out with the words "Fiscal Wilton," which perhaps is a subliminal message.
Brooks said that while Vermonters First is focusing on supporting Illuzzi and Wilton for now, he would not rule out the possibility of becoming involved in other races as well.
"We are very interested in supporting candidates who are willing to talk about the tough issues out there and the issues and problems the state of Vermont has," he said. "Both Sen. Illuzzi and Treasurer Wilton have shown that, and there are other candidates out there who have shown an ability to bring some balance to the discussion and to Montpelier. There are other candidates that can do that, so I expect we might be involved with other candidates as well."
See video of the two ads below. And pardon the shakiness.