As Republicans hold their heads in bleary-eyed befuddlement all over America, perhaps no where in Vermont are they more at a loss than on the home turf of Vermonter’s First poster boy, Tayt Brooks.
GOP campaign signs litter the yard of Dustin Degree’s St. Albans pied a terre; some standing, some leaning and some fallen down like drunken soldiers. A couple of errant “Romney”signs have even drifted into the parking lane.
Perhaps in symbolic defiance, signs for Degree, Casey Toof and Norm McAllister, all over town, seem to be the only ones that have not yet been removed .
Degree seems certain to request a recount of his close Senate race with Democrat Don Collins, where he lost by a mere 25 votes. There seems to be no word from Casey Toof who was defeated in a bid for Degree’s House seat by Democrat Mike McCarthy. The vote spread was only 20 votes, but being a House race, the overall tally was significantly smaller than for the Senate.
But it is not the losers who are kicking up the angry dust around here. It is curiously sore winner Norm McAllister who, when asked about the impact of Vermonters First on the election, was quoted in the Weekend Messenger:
“I don’t think it hurt us. What hurt was you guys’ negative ads, writings that you did. That’s what hurt us. Vermonters First didn’t hurt us. It was you peoples’ reporting that hurt us, because you made it sound like it was something unusual.” he said.
McAllister went on to double-down on some of the claims made by Vermonters First in their attack ads; claims that have since been dismissed by fact-checkers.
He had particularly harsh words for the Messenger when it came to the subject of Tayt Brooks, whom McAllister said was “barbecued” by the paper.
Mr. McAllister seems to be gunning for anyone and everyone, including Mike McCarthy with whom he is destined to serve in the Legislature. He objects to the fact that McCarthy, who made a last minute decision to enter the House race, did not resign his chairmanship of the Franklin County Democratic Party. Why that would be an issue for him is beyond me, but there you are.
The Franklin County delegation has traditionally been characterized by cross-party camaraderie. I am told that Dustin Degree has routinely chauffeured Democrat Kathy Keenan to the statehouse over the two years that they’ve served side-by-side. Republican Carolyn Branagan of Georgia was quick to denounce claims made by Vermonters First that the Democrats were planning to introduce sales tax on child care, healthcare, and other every day services. Most seem to recognize that they are neighbors and local representatives first, and political rivals only second.
It will be interesting to see how Mr. McAllister navigates those waters now that the Republican census from Franklin County is down a couple of men. Progressive Cindy Weed of Enosburg is in the mix too, having defeated incumbent Republican Peter Perley.
‘Should be an interesting session!