Campaign 2014

Angela Evancie / VPR

Although Vermont doesn’t have a U.S. Senate race this year, the political influence of the state’s two senators could be significantly reduced if the Republicans gain a majority in the Senate.

Right now the Democrats enjoy a 10-vote majority in the U.S. Senate. There are 53 Democrats, and two Independents (including Bernie Sanders) who caucus with the Democrats, and there are 45 GOP members.

It’s believed that there are 11 Senate seats in play around the country this year and the Republicans would need a net gain of six seats to regain control of the Senate.

Toby Talbot / AP

The lieutenant governor’s race is the one to watch this election season. And this weekend, both candidates hit the campaign trail. Or at least the campaign track.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott was in the middle of a race this weekend. Well, two races actually.

“For some of my competitors, they think being lieutenant governor is somewhat of an interesting hobby for a race car driver,” said Scott.

Scott had just completed a time trial to qualify for the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road in Barre. It’s one of the biggest stock car races in Vermont.

Vermont’s Secretary of State oversees election law, voter rights, state archives and record administration, professional regulation, the registration of business entities, notaries public, municipal programs and the filing and publication of administrative rules by all state agencies.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

With four weeks to go before election day, a new poll shows that the race for governor has the incumbent holding a strong lead. But the poll results also show that Gov. Peter Shumlin’s "un-favorability" ratings are unusually high for a two-term governor.  

The statewide poll was commissioned by WCAX and was conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute at the end of last week.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

A new poll shows Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott with a commanding lead over his main challenger. But the Progressive/Democratic fusion candidate Dean Corren thinks that Scott’s views on abortion will cost him some of that support.

In an otherwise ho-hum election season, political pundits had pegged the race for lieutenant governor as the contest to watch. But according to a new poll from Castleton Polling Institute, Scott, the incumbent, isn’t exactly fighting for his political life.

Incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin got a boost in his campaign this week from all eight of Vermont’s mayors.

The municipal leaders endorsed Shumlin at an event in Burlington Tuesday. The group includes Republican mayors Chris Louras of Rutland and Thom Lauzon of Barre, leaving Republican gubernatorial challenger Scott Milne with no chance of gaining a mayoral endorsement before the November election.

But the endorsements probably weren’t personal slights against Milne; both Lauzon and Louras endorsed Shumlin in the 2012 elections as well, against Republican Randy Brock.

The Attorney General is called the top legal officer in the state, which includes everything from defending state laws in court, to protecting consumers to reviewing the actions of police.  Incumbent Democrat Bill Sorrell and Republican challenger Shane McCormack meet in a live hour-long debate on VPR. (Liberty Union candidate Rosemarie Jackowski was invited but is unable to attend.)

Early voting has been temporarily suspended in the city of Burlington, after it was determined that five Republican candidates for Justice of the Peace were omitted from the ballot.

The error was brought to the attention of the city clerk’s office by the Burlington Republican Committee.

Hemera / Thinkstock

Vermont’s candidates for governor are offering very different solutions to the problem of rising education property taxes.

In a number of communities, property tax burdens have increased more than 25 percent over the past three years. Another round of hikes is expected this winter.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

With the November election only about a month away, we’re spotlighting some sharply contested races for the legislature. In St. Johnsbury, two Republicans are challenging the Democratic incumbents.

In Part 1 we introduced those challengers. Here we find out how the two Democrats agree -- and disagree --on key issues they would likely face if they return to the House of Representatives from Caledonia District 3.

VPR will broadcast live candidate debates this campaign season, moderated by Jane Lindholm and Bob Kinzel. The first three debates will air within Vermont Edition:

Attorney General: Tuesday, October 7, 12-1 p.m. in Colchester. Jane Lindholm moderates.
Bill Sorrell (D)
Shane McCormack (R)

Secretary of State: Friday, October 10, 12-1 p.m. in Montpelier. Bob Kinzel moderates. 
Jim Condos (D/R)
Ben Eastwood (P) 

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Voters in November not only will cast ballots for statewide offices; they’ll also select among competing candidates for the Statehouse. In St. Johnsbury, voters face a clear choice in a four-way race for the two-person district.

The seat has historically been a Republican stronghold, but the current incumbents are both Democrats. Their two Republican challengers both want to lower spending and taxes, but they come from very different backgrounds.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Republican candidate for governor Scott Milne has posted his most impressive monthly fundraising performance of the 2014 campaign. But he was still outdone by Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who maintains a million-dollar advantage, even after spending more than $200,000 on television ads.

Milne raised about $80,000 last month, money that includes a $9,500 gift from his son. It’s considerably more than the Republican candidate raised in the first two and a half months of his candidacy combined.

Toby Talbot / AP

Incumbent Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer is running unopposed in this election. He has accepted the nomination of both the Democratic and the Progressive parties. We'll talk to Doug Hoffer about the focus of his audits in the last two years, and why he thinks he deserves your vote in November.

Also on the show, we'll get an analysis of this election season with Paul Heintz, who writes the political column Fair Game for Seven Days.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File Photo

In Tuesday's gubernatorial debate between Gov. Peter Shumlin, Scott Milne, Dan Feliciano and Peter Diamondstone, the candidates spoke mostly about how Vermont could be best served by different styles of leadership, leaving few factual claims to be checked.

With two terms in office under his belt, Shumlin often cited his record in office when making his case for a third term. We checked some of his factual claims, as well as some claims made by his challengers.

Here's the breakdown...

On universal cellular coverage in Vermont...

Angela Evancie / VPR

Peter Shumlin has released his tax return from 2013. But Vermonters still know very little about the personal finances of their second-term governor.  And government watchdogs say that’s a problem.

In 1978, members of Congress passed what’s known as the Ethics in Government Act. And it requires federal lawmakers to disclose to the public all kinds of details about their personal finances.

Angela Evancie / VPR

It’s hard to find a subject where Vermont’s four candidates for governor have very different positions but the threat posed by climate change is one of them. These differences were very clear during VPR's gubernatorial debate.  

The candidate who is least concerned is Libertarian Dan Feliciano. He says the state has wasted millions of dollars providing tax credits for solar projects and he argues that climate change is being overblown by a number of politicians and scientists.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Politicians generally try to use debates to improve their own electoral prospects. But in VPR’s gubernatorial debate Tuesday night, incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin seemed as interested in boosting the profile of one of his opponents.

In their bids to knock off the second-term governor, Republican Scott Milne and Libertarian Dan Feliciano are going after the same conservative base.

VPR Governor's Debate

Sep 23, 2014
Angela Evancie / VPR

VPR's gubernatorial debate was broadcast live on Tuesday, September 23, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Bob Kinzel and Jane Lindholm moderated a debate among Liberty Union candidate Peter Diamondstone, Libertarian Dan Feliciano, Republican Scott Milne and Democratic incumbent Peter Shumlin.

Courtesy Dean Corren

The Vermont Democratic State Committee voted Saturday to formally endorse Progressive Lt. Gov. candidate Dean Corren.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll have access to all of the party’s resources.

Corren already had the Democratic nomination under his belt, thanks to a write-in campaign in the Democratic primary. But the party stopped short of formally endorsing Corren.

That changed Saturday, when Democrats voted 31 to four in favor of endorsing the Progressive candidate.