Campaign 2014

The filing deadline for state-wide office was Thursday. Retired Middlebury College Political Science Professor Eric Davis has been keeping an eye on the prospective candidates. He spoke with Vermont Edition about who's in and who's out for the 2014 races.

The Vermont GOP finally has a candidate for governor.

Republican Scott Milne announced on WDEV Thursday morning that he’ll challenge Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin. Milne, a Pomfret resident and owner of Milne Travel, goes up against a two-term incumbent with a powerful campaign apparatus and a more than $1 million war chest.

Milne understands his candidacy is “a long shot.” But he says he thinks Vermonters have tired of Shumlin’s leadership, and that many voters will appreciate having another option.

Toby Talbot / AP

Since the close of the legislative session in May, lawmakers, lobbyists and administration officials have been awaiting word on the future plans of three-term House Speaker Shap Smith.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A group of inmates serving time for murder, sexual assault and other violent crimes has been sending postcards to Vermont Public Radio on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Emily Peyton.

The Vermont inmates are incarcerated in a private prison in Kentucky operated by the Corrections Corporation of America. Their postcards say they “would like to hear VPR feature Emily more.”

With just three days until the filing deadline, the Vermont Republican Party is still without a candidate for governor. And an announcement Sunday evening from former state auditor Randy Brock has dimmed prospects that the GOP will be able to field a name-brand challenger to run against Democratic incumbent Peter Shumlin.

After months of deliberation, Brock, who lost to Shumlin in 2012, announced he won’t seek a rematch in 2014. Brock said in a written statement that “this decision has not been easy to reach.” 

Vermont Republicans are are still determining whose name will be on the ballot against Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin.

Political analyst Eric Davis spoke with Vermont Edition about the GOP bench and the party's ability to put up a strong contender contender in the gubernatorial race.

Lawmakers have given their approval to a bill that moves up the date of the state’s primary election, but the plan won’t go into effect until 2016.

If this bill is signed into law by the governor, Vermont’s primary date would move from the fourth Tuesday in August to the second Tuesday of that month.

Senate Government Operations chairwoman Jeanette White, D-Windham, says federal election officials insisted that the change be made.

Toby Talbot / AP File Photo

Governor Peter Shumlin has a 49 percent approval rating, according to data from the Castleton Polling Institute and VTDigger.  Their recent poll shows broad support for the governor, but it also reveals some key weaknesses when compared to poll results from earlier in his administration. Political analyst Eric Davis talked with Vermont Edition about what the numbers mean to the 2014 governor’s race.

AP/Toby Talbot

Leaders of Vermont's Progressive Party say they'll likely focus on House and Senate races this year instead of putting forward a gubernatorial candidate. 

In the 2010 and 2012 elections, Progressive Party officials established three goals for Democratic candidate Peter Shumlin.

They wanted him to support a single payer health care system, work to close down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, and support economic development policies to help working Vermonters.

As home to the nation’s first primary, New Hampshire is the place candidates go to explore their prospects for a presidential campaign.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders will travel to New Hampshire this weekend, following a path used by many presidential candidates over the past 25 years.

Sanders plans to make multiple trips to the state that holds the nation’s first presidential primary.

On Saturday, he will hold a Town Meeting at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. The college has become an important campaign stopping point for presidential candidates over the years.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

"They are dead wrong," Sen. Bernie Sanders said about the Supreme Court's decision on Wednesday that struck down a major provision of the nation's campaign finance law. By a 5-to-4 vote, the justices removed the cap on the total amount of money that donors can contribute to candidates and parties in each election. Prior to Wednesday's ruling in McCutcheon v.

Lawmakers are considering moving the date of Vermont's primary election because the Department of Justice has been cracking down on states that hold primaries in the latter part of August and in September.

The Department of Justice argues that these late dates don’t give states enough time to send out general election ballots to overseas voters, many of whom are members of the military, if there’s a recount in one of the primary contests.

This has been an issue in Vermont because the state has had a recount in the last two election cycles in the gubernatorial race.

Voters would cast ballots in early August if a bill to change the date of Vermont's primary elections is approved.

The Legislature is considering the bill because the federal government has sued Vermont over its current primary date. At the heart of the complaint is a provision that requires the state to send ballots out to overseas voters at least 45 days before the general election.

Former two-term Republican Rep. Oliver Olsen from Jamaica is looking to return to the Statehouse, this time as an Independent.

Olsen made a name for himself on the House Committee on Ways and Means, where he became heavily involved in the debate over education financing reforms.

Olsen is looking to fill the Windham-Windsor-Bennington seat being vacated by the departing Rep. Charles “Tim” Goodwin, an Independent.

Campaign finance reports submitted Monday show that Gov. Peter Shumlin is resting on a seven-figure war chest heading into the 2014 election season.

Shumlin’s largesse comes thanks to out-of-state donors, who have contributed more than $240,000 to the second-term Democrat since last July. Shumlin raised only about $80,000 from Vermonters.

AP/Jacquelyn Martin

We often hear from Senator Bernie Sanders regarding legislative issues in Washington that affect Vermont, but many political observers and Vermonters were also intrigued recently when the Independent Senator commented in The Nation that he was “prepared to run for President” in 2016. 

Dustin Degree is hoping to make the Democratic super-majority in Montpelier a bit less super.

The St. Albans Republican announced his bid for Senate in Franklin County, currently split between Republican Norm McAllister and Democrat Donald Collins. The Burlington Free Press reports that Democrat Bill Roberts is also in the race.

Degree, a former staffer for Gov. Jim Douglas, said the Democratic rule of the state’s government is taking its toll on Vermont.

Toby Talbot / AP File Photo

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan won’t be asking voters for a promotion this year, he said.

After a hard-fought primary campaign in 2012 in which he came within 1,000 votes of beating sitting Attorney General Bill Sorrell, Donovan said he isn’t seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 2014.

“It was a decision that was obviously difficult given how close we came last time,” Donovan said.

AP/ Toby Talbot

The Vermont Republican Party seems to have begun its Election 2014 opposition research on Gov. Peter Shumlin.

In a release Monday, the party’s political director criticized Shumlin for saying recently that he “never promised cell service to Vermont because I knew that we couldn’t get that done by 2013 or 2014.”