Governor's Race Sees Launch Of Dueling Ads

09/09/10 5:50PM By John Dillon
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(Host) Vermont airwaves may soon get crowded with political advertisements as national Republicans and Democrats pump money into the race for governor.

As VPR's John Dillon reports, the Republican ad has generated a complaint by Democrats.

(Dillon) The Democratic Governor's Association helped pay for an ad that criticizes Republican Brian Dubie's support of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

(Democratic Ad) "Want Vermont Yankee open for another 20 years? Tell Brian Dubie no."

(Dillon) And last month, the Republican Governors Association began airing a TV spot that touts Dubie's positions on jobs and the economy.

(Republican Ad) "Leadership matters. Brian Dubie has a vision for a better Vermont."

(Dillon) The ad is narrated by Governor Jim Douglas, who in 2004 also benefited from a similar advertising blitz from the Republican Governors Association. Those ads were eventually ordered off the air after a state court found that the RGA skirted campaign finance law.

Now Vermont Democrats are complaining that Dubie violated state law by coordinating the latest ad campaign with the RGA. Paul Tencher is a spokesman for the state Democratic Party

(Tencher) "The national Republicans have coordinated on a media expenditure to promote his campaign and that's illegal in Vermont."

(Dillon) The ad shows Dubie at several events around the state, including meetings with individual business owners and supporters. The Democrats say some of the events were private, and Tencher says he believes the RGA worked with the Dubie camp to produce the ad.

(Tencher) "The events that took place in the filming - not all of them, but some of them - were at private events, private Brian Dubie fundraisers even, and we think there was coordination on behalf of the national Republicans and Brian's campaign to give him an advantage."

(Dillon) The Democrats have asked the state attorney general to investigate. But Dubie campaign manager Corry Bliss dismissed the complaint as a cheap shot.

(Bliss) "There was absolutely no coordination. These allegations are 100 percent false. This is a distraction by Peter Shumlin to talk about anything but his record."

(Dillon) Dubie's campaign does not publicize his schedule. But Bliss said the Republican camera crew did not work with the campaign to locate Dubie. Bliss said the events that were filmed were public and could have been discovered by looking at Dubie's Facebook site or through emails from Dubie supporters. 

(Bliss) "Brian is filmed almost every single day by different people, some of them are friendly, some of them are not friendly."

(Dillon) The attorney general's office said it had received the complaint but had not had time to review it.

For VPR News, I'm John Dillon in Montpelier.

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