Former state senator Matt Dunne on Tuesday launched the first television advertisement of Vermont's Democratic gubernatorial primary. And it's all about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
"What Bernie Sanders started, we need to finish," Dunne says, speaking directly to the viewer. "This campaign is about making Bernie's vision a reality right here in Vermont."
Set to bright music and video of Dunne marching in parades, knocking on doors and talking to Vermonters, the 30-second ad focuses on "restoring trust in government" by banning corporate campaign contributions.
In a press release announcing the move, Dunne's campaign described it as "part of a robust six-figure buy" scheduled to run through the August 9 primary. According to paperwork on file with the Federal Communications Commission, Dunne has so far ordered $21,778 worth of airtime over the next week — a relatively modest sum.
Neither of Dunne's top rivals for the Democratic nomination, former state senator Peter Galbraith and former transportation secretary Sue Minter, have aired television ads, nor has Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. Retired Wall Street banker Bruce Lisman, the other Republican in the race, has been doing so since February.
Dunne endorsed Sanders' Democratic presidential campaign last October and has repeatedly invoked the senator's name on the campaign trail. Minter and Galbraith later did the same.
In the ad, Dunne says that "the first thing" he would do as governor "is ban corporate money from politics, once and for all."
"Corporations are not people, and they shouldn't be allowed to buy elections anymore," he says. "That's why I don't take corporate campaign contributions."
Anymore, at least. Last October, Dunne told Seven Days that while he hoped to ban such contributions, he would gladly accept them this campaign cycle — as he had in the past.
"I don't believe in fighting with one arm tied behind my back," he said at the time.