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View Diary: A state-by-state look at lieutenant gubernatorial elections in 2014 (82 comments)

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  •  Corren/Scott in Vermont (8+ / 0-)

    There's no question that Phil Scott, the Republican incumbent, starts out as the favorite in the Vermont LG race.

    He's well known, is widely viewed as a moderate, comes across as a decent guy and good campaigner. In a very blue state, he manages to avoid getting sucked into the right wing nonsense of the national party and parts of the state GOP. (He has even publicly toyed in the past with leaving the Republican Party and running as an independent).

    He's got a good geographic base in usually heavily Democratic Washington County (Montpelier, Barre, and surrounding towns).  He's pro-choice, voted for marriage equality in the legislature, has held off taking a stand on Governor Shumlin's single-payer proposal (instead of the knee-jerk opposition of most Republicans). He's got a good blue collar image going for him - he owns (and works in) a construction company, drives a race car at the local "Thunder Road" track, and bears more than a passing resemblance to Mike Rowe - hard to paint him as an out of touch elitist Romney-type.

    He definitely tries to stress bipartisan appeal. He's got good relations with a lot of Democratic office-holders, and is endorsed by a number of moderate/conservative Democratic State Senators (including the State Senate President) and State Representatives.  The media loves him (and he is very good at working them).

    But the Corren campaign makes Scott's re-election something less than a sure thing.

    Corren is running as the Progressive Party candidate. But he is also working to get enough write-in votes in the August  primary to win the Democratic nomination. (There will also probably be a quieter effort by some conservadems for a write-in for Scott... but that is unlikely to beat Corren.)

    Corren is a former State Representative  - but that doesn't mean much in terms of name ID in Vermont, as he only represented a few thousand people, and it was 14 years ago.

    Corren is focusing on two issues in his campaign. The first is support for single-payer health care and the second is campaign financing.

    Corren is the first candidate in several election cycles to qualify for public financing under Vermont law - and he is attacking Scott for refusing to do so, alleging that he will be beholden to special interests as a result. (Scott, for his part, attacked Corren for taking $200k in "taxpayer money" for his campaign, claiming it was money that would have been better spent on social services, road repair or similar state projects).

    The $200,000 will allow Corren to be competitive on campaign expenses without having to worry about fundraising. (In most states, that amount would be a joke, but in Vermont it is enough to run a respectable down-ballot campaign). In the last election Scott out raised his Democratic opponent, Cassandra Gekas, $190k to $50k.

    Corren's candidacy was immediately endorsed by Governor Peter Shumlin and quite a few other leading Democrats - in part as a way for Shumlin to help overcome some of the ways he alienated progressives during the last 2 years.

    Corren will work hard (but so will Scott, who is an energetic campaigner). Corren has the advantage of running in a state where the partisan leanings continue to move left each year. A lot of Democrats would love to defeat Scott to lessen his potential future as a gubernatorial (or even Congressional) candidate.  

    Scott is hurt by the near collapse of the state Republican Party.

    They utterly failed in candidate recruitment this time - at the last minute they coughed up local businessman Scott Milne to run for Governor, but he has not impressed in his rollout. But they failed to file candidates for any other other statewide offices - AG, Auditor, Treasurer, or Secretary of State, and their legislative recruitment was not impressive (and they're already in "super minority" status there). They failed to find a serious candidate for the state's at-large Congressional seat - the nomination will probably go to the same "some dude" who took only 23% against incumbent Democrat Peter Welch last time out.

    On the flip side of that, without truly competitive races for other statewide offices, it will be harder for Democrats and Progressives to drive turnout in a midterm election year - which probably helps Scott.

    Definitely a race to watch, but odds right now are that Republicans will manage to hold onto their last statewide position in Vermont.  

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 12:48:11 PM PDT

    •  Ah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom

      I wasn't aware that Corren might be able to get the Democratic ballot line. If he does, I could see him getting in the low-to-mid 40s. But Scott would still be favored even if that happened.

      P.S. Do you live in Vermont? If so, I'd definitely like to hear more from you about Vermont politics.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 01:31:11 PM PDT

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      •  Yes, I live in VT (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        abgin, Jorge Harris, 4Freedom

        Was very active in state politics for a long time, now retired and more of an observer and occasional volunteer than intensely involved.

        I only post on dKos sporadically - but usually pay attention when VT items show up in the elections feed and add something if I feel it is missing or needs clarifications.

        My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

        by terjeanderson on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 05:14:30 PM PDT

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    •  Also, how has (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jacob1145

      Shumlin alienated progressives? Many would say that he's the most progressive governor in America. What do Vermont progressives expect? Someone to the left of Bernie Sanders?

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 01:32:42 PM PDT

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      •  Shumlin has a mixed record (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gabjoh, abgin, ProudNewEnglander, 4Freedom

        On some issues (single payer, his leadership on marriage equality, some environmental issues) he has been a strong progressive.

        But on some economic issues, he has frustrated progressives - both inside and outside of the Democratic Party. His state budgets have been the object of legislative fights as he has proposed benefit cuts for the poor, moved slowly on minimum wage increases, while adamantly opposing even a slight tax increase on the wealthiest. He prides himself on being "business-friendly" - to such a degree that many have viewed him as being tone deaf to the needs of workers and communities in an effort to maintain good relationships with corporations.

        He also has a personal style that many (myself included) find very alienating - a smug, smirky, superior tone that he often adopts, dismissive of/hostile to of anyone who dares offer an alternative view on something or to question his way of doing things.

        It isn't about "purity" or being to the left of Bernie Sanders (honestly, he is quite a bit to the right of Bernie). Vermont Democrats and Progressives have no real problem with that (Howard Dean was even more less progressive than Shumlin, and people dealt with that).  It is more about tone, setting the parameters of the debate, and a sense that he simply doesn't care about issues that matter to poor/working class/middle class Vermonters.

        The result is a generalized disappointment and lack of enthusiasm for Shumlin - while it isn't enough to translate into overt opposition, it does mean that during an election year he needs to do a much better job of reaching out to progressives than he generally does during the legislative session.

        My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

        by terjeanderson on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 02:43:41 PM PDT

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        •  A Democratic acquaintance who served in the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terjeanderson

          Vermont legislature for years said he hated Progressives even more than Republicans.

          That's one of the reasons I think Scott's ongoing popularity poses a long term risk to Democrats. Shumlin is not quite the egalitarian one might wish for in his role.

          However, his stance on single payer will continue to play well. It remains to be seen how far that will carry him, given the personal attributes you describe, and with which I concur.

          I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against. ~ Malcolm X -8.62 -8.36

          by 4Freedom on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 11:21:50 AM PDT

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          •  The Dem/Prog wars aren't as bad as they once were (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4Freedom

            There was a time when many of the players in both the Democratic and Progressive Parties hated each other with a passion.

            Many Progressives viewed even the most left-wing Democrats as  sell-outs who were cooperating with a corrupt system. Many Democrats viewed the Progs as purists who were willing to risk electing Republicans by splitting the vote and punishing liberal Democrats, and unwilling to support legislative progress that didn't go as far as they wanted.

            A lot of those battle went back to the days when Bernie Sanders was first elected Mayor in Burlington, ousting a old line Democrat. For well over a decade, it was trench warfare between Dems and Progs in races for Mayor, City Council and state legislative seats in Burlington.

            Most of those old animosities have faded. New leadership in both parties are much more open to working together, and most of the Progressive members of the legislature were elected as fusion candidates. Bernie's embrace by/of Democrats in the House and Senate caucuses in DC - and his support by state Democrats in his federal races - has also played a major role in overcoming those old divisions.

            While there is still a group of more conservative Democrats who are uncomfortable with progressive cooperation (especially in the state Senate, where Dick Mazza, John Campbell, and several others are close friends with Phil Scott), they are a shrinking share of the party with each election.

            Single payer support in the state is plurality, but not majority. The problems with the roll-out of the state exchange, as well as Shumlin's refusal to meet legislative deadlines to share funding details, has undermined some of that support. At this point I suspect it is only about 50/50 that we will actually move forward with final implementation of a single payer system. To that end, Corren running strong (even better -winning) will help send a message of public support for the plan.  And a lot will depend on exactly what the legislature elected in November looks like.

            My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

            by terjeanderson on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 12:28:30 PM PDT

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            •  Interested in a Vermont DKos group? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              terjeanderson, abgin

              Chittenden politics is always interesting, and I could use some input regarding my county.

              I'm a former county Democratic committee member and State Alternate.

              I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against. ~ Malcolm X -8.62 -8.36

              by 4Freedom on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 01:55:19 PM PDT

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              •  I'd join such a group if someone started one (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                4Freedom, abgin

                But I'm a sporadic poster here in DKos, so no guarantees how active of a participant I'd be.

                In a previous life I lived in Chittenden Co and was a state party officer (and DNC member). Then left the state in 96, worked in DC for a decade before moving back.

                Now I'm retired, living in the sticks up on the Quebec border, and more of an observer than an active participant in state politics.

                My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

                by terjeanderson on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 02:17:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm J. Random Poster as well. I attend NN (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  abgin

                  and remain somewhat active locally, but local politics have proved discouraging.

                  You have much more of an insider's perspective, and that I value. The DK Vermont group is something navajo has asked me to do. I know there are many relatively active kossians in Vermont, and the occasional get-together could prove useful and interesting.

                  Retirement is an aspiration this post-retirement-age person holds, but hasn't attained. I own a health food store with the elusive goal of thinking that healthier people think better and make better choices.

                  If you would care to give a dkos group a modest go, I may well see who we might be able to round up for a meet. Vermont hosts some interesting kossians.

                  I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against. ~ Malcolm X -8.62 -8.36

                  by 4Freedom on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 02:38:18 PM PDT

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    •  D Corren is a former aide of Sen Bernie Sanders (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom

      It is also an important detail. I hope he can find also help from this side.

      •  Having campaigned with Progressives, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson, abgin

        they have a saying that "Bernie is for Bernie", and doesn't spread the Bernie Magic around to other candidates.

        My uninformed opinion on this is that Bernie has always had a consistent approach to politics, regardless of any party line. Bernie is so identified with the populist agenda he proscribes that he feels he must personally defend that agenda.

        It is very likely that other Progressives may not be able to align as successfully with veterans and farmers as Bernie has done. It will be interesting to see what, if any, support Corren receives from the Sanders' camp.

        I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against. ~ Malcolm X -8.62 -8.36

        by 4Freedom on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 11:26:10 AM PDT

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