Each Friday here at Off Message headquarters we bring you the week's winners and losers. Our formula for determining who belongs in what category is really quite simple: We crumple up a week's worth of Vermont newspapers, soak them in a bucket full of tritium and send them down The Chute at Jay Peak. Whatever comes out the other end we post here.
And now, behold The Scoreboard, for the week of Sept. 28:
Northeast Kingdom — Okay, this one's a layup. Jay Peak owner Bill Stenger's announcement of half a billion dollars of investment in the middle of nowhere is kind of a big deal. Runners-up: The thousand-plus foreign nationalswho get to skip to the front of the green card line after investing $500,000 in the projects. Second runner-up: Whoever Stenger's flack is. The perfect combination of hype and secrecy had the press drooling over details of Thursday's NEK announcement.
Wendy Wilton — We liberal media elites mostly wrote Wilton off when the Rutland City treasurer jumped into the race against incumbent Democratic state treasurer, Beth Pearce. But thanks to a big boost from the Vermonters First super PAC and an aggressive campaign, the Rutland Republican is turning the race into the down-ticket battle to watch.
Jonathan Leopold — The dismissal of a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to force Burlington Telecom to immediately repay $17 million in mismanaged money was a big victory for Leopold, Burlington's former chief administrative officer. The plaintiffs, two former city councilors, sought to force Leopold himself to come up with the cash. Dude told Seven Days he felt "vindicated" by the case's dismissal — even though Judge Geoffrey Crawford gave him a real finger-wagging in his decision.
Television stations — No doubt the owners of WCAX, WPTZ, FOX44 and ABC22 wish their stations were located in Cleveland or Tampa or Des Moines, where the real, presidential-calibre cash is flooding the airwaves. But ad buys placed in the past week by candidates Randy Brock, Phil Scott, Jack McMullen, Wendy Wilton and Beth Pearce — not to mention Vermonters First's continuing support — are surely helping the stations' bottom line. Shit, if McMullen decides to go hog-wild with his new ad campaign, they'll be like pigs at the money trough.
Losers after the jump...
Republican unity — It would be an understatement to say that Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon took the wind out of Randy Brock's sails Monday when he called the Republican gubernatorial candidate's campaign "ill-advised" and said a $4000 donation wouldn't do a damn thing to save it. What Lauzon actually did was rip off Brock's sails and slam his mast through the hull of his sinking ship. If Brock can't count on Robo Lo-zo to vote for him, whose vote can he count on?
The facts — During WDEV's gubernatorial debate Wednesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin appeared to double-down on an outdated jobs number after he was presented with a Seven Days/VTDigger.org fact check calling it mostly false. Brock's response? To criticize Shumlin for using misleading numbers and then spit out a few misleading numbers himself. Tough times in truth-ville.
That guy in a call center — If you haven't yet, you simply must take a listen to Burlington Free Press reporter Terri Hallenbeck's tape of a mysterious polling call placed to the Jericho home of Chuck Lacy and former House Speaker Gaye Symington. The poor pollster gets absolutely berated by Lacy, who recorded the convo and passed it along to Hallenbeck. We're not sure whether Lacy was being hilarious or a total jerk, but we know one thing: the guy on the other end of the line will never call that number again.