Each Friday here at Off Message headquarters, we bring you the week's winners and losers in Vermont news and politics. Here they are for the week of Friday, Oct. 19:
Binders Full of Women — State Treasurer Beth Pearce provided an unintentional counter-point to the meme of the week — Mitt Romney's binders full of women — when she assembled the state's "money chairs," all of whom are women, for an endorsement press conference Thursday morning. It was a helpful reminder that, here in Vermont at least, we seem to trust women with our money. Even Pearce's opponent, Rutland State Treasurer Wendy Wilton, has two X chromosomes. Now it's probably time to elect women to statewide office; Pearce is currently the only one.
Vermont Air National Guard — Even as Sen. Bernie Sanders' Republican opponent, John MacGovern, goes after Ol' Bernardo for his support of the military industrial complex — ahem, I mean the basing of F-35 fighter jets at the Vermont Air National Guard station — the base appears to be in consideration for hosting yet another aircraft: the KC-46A refueling tanker. So much for those arguments from F-35 supporters saying that plane was the Vermont Guard's last best hope to keep its base alive after its F-16s are decommissioned.
Media Strategies and Research — Gov. Peter Shumlin's Virginia-based media buyer finally got a chance to tap his million-dollar war chest, as the gov went up on television this week with two shiny new ads. Runner-up: Thom Lauzon's Bipartisan Street Cred. After trashing Shumlin two years ago in fear-mongering robo-calls, Barre's Republican mayor is merrily endorsing Shummy — along with Rutland Mayor Chris Louras — in one of the gov's new ads.
Vermonters First — The conservative super PAC's breathtaking campaign finance report makes clear that its major funder, Burlington's Lenore Broughton, means business. As we wrote earlier this week, Vermonters First is fast replacing the Vermont Republican Party as Democrats' opposition of relevance. The only question that remains is whether the super PAC's treasurer and consultant, Tayt Brooks, will get results with the million dollars Vermonters First may well spend before Election Day.
Losers after the jump...
The Vermont Press Corps — As Election Day looms, Vermont reporters have been bombarded with debates, press conferences, television ads, leaks, attack press releases, editorial board meetings and candidate profiles. Hardly gives us a chance to actually cover the news! Then again, come December, we'll be bitching about how slow it's gotten.
WPTZ-TV — We hate to criticize our colleagues, but the feistiest gubernatorial debate to date was hampered by the moderators' strict adherence to time limits. We're not saying they should go all Jim Lehrer on us, but cutting off candidates mid-sentence and not letting Sen. Randy Brock finish asking his questions doesn't do the voter much good.
Shumlin's "I can see New Hampshire from my house" line — With everyone focused on the gov's new digs in East Montpelier and the bear-infested Montpelier rental in which he currently lives, isn't it about time for Shummy to drop his oft-repeated quip that he's the first governor in years "who can do tax policy" because he can see New Hampshire from his Putney home? Unless he's got a good pair of binoculars, we're guessing he can't see the Granite State from Montpelier.
Lenore Broughton's Privacy — After donating $682,500 to Vermonters First, the Burlington super-donor will have a hard time avoiding public scrutiny through Election Day. When Seven Days tried to snap a photo of her at a public meeting, she took off. We're guessing we won't see her hangin' out at Radio Bean — at least for the next few weeks.