In an oddly timed press release that was almost certain to assure underplay in Vermont media outlets, Randy Brock late Thursday finally unveiled the health care proposal he’s been promising since early June.
We anticipated a glitzy, glamorous rollout for the plan, which is, very broadly speaking, a free-market alternative to the single-payer system favored by Gov. Peter Shumlin. Or at least a press conference, to draw TV cameras and front-page headlines the next morning, which he easily could have gotten.
Instead, “The Brock Health Care Vision: A 100% Solution,” rolled in unannounced to reporters’ inboxes at a time when many might have already called it a day.
Brock on Saturday told us that the health care press conference is still in the works — look for it in “a week to 10 days.” He said he wanted to give reporters and voters some time to familiarize themselves with the proposal, so that he can make changes based on preliminary reactions and have a more substantive conversation when he does a live event.
“And there will be a further release, in which we’ll talk about 25 specific steps we can take right now to contain costs,” Brock said.
But the main reason Brock didn’t trumpet his proposal? He wants voters to put a magnifying glass to Shumlin’s plan, not his own.
“In thinking about whether or not to do a formal dog and pony show, we decided that in a way takes the emphasis off what we should be talking about, which is problems with the Shumlin health care plan,” Brock said. “I don’t want this to be solely about what Randy Brock has to say, because the real focus, from the media and the voters, ought to be on what we’re doing right now.”
We brought you news last week of the first Republican super PAC to hit Vermont, and that fact that it’s going to spend at least $70,000 over the next couple of weeks to push conservative viewpoints. Though we don’t know yet who’s funding “Vermonters First,” the point man for the outfit, Tayt Brooks, said the group will provide a foil to the “single-party” rule dominating Montpelier.
A day after our story broke, Paul Heintz of Seven Days had a nice follow-up piece detailing the content of the group’s ads. One spot will tout Republican candidate for auditor Vince Illuzzi. Another is dedicated to the GOP’s candidate for treasurer, Wendy Wilton.
Does that mean Vermonters First has snubbed the man at the top of the ticket? Perhaps not.
The Illuzzi/Wilton spots are what’s known in the TV business as “bookends” — 15-second spots at the beginning and end of a commercial break.
According to documents on file at WCAX, those spots constitute only a portion of the $53,000 buy by Vermonters First, which includes plenty of 30-second ads as well. An approximately $15,000 buy on WPTZ won’t start until Sept. 17.
We asked Brooks whether we could expect to see Randy Brock’s face in those longer spots, but the former executive director of the Vermont Republican Party wouldn’t say. We’ll find out soon enough — the ads begin airing today.
Reporters this summer have given Gov. Peter Shumlin plenty of opportunities to renounce support from super PACs, but the Democratic incumbent has declined on each occasion. Shumlin says he detests the new federal legal precedent that allows super PACs to exist, so it seemed curious that he wouldn’t tell them to keep their money out of Vermont.
There may be good reason for the incumbent’s reticence, however. Last week, the Democrat won an endorsement from “LPAC,” a federal super PAC that plans to spend at least $1 million on statewide candidates and ballot initiatives across the country in 2012.
LPAC, founded in mid-July, is the nation’s first pro-lesbian super PAC, and will focus on LGBT issues as well as women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
It’s unclear whether the group’s endorsement means it’ll be spending any money on the Vermont gubernatorial race; the group has also endorsed Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.
According to a report in Politico, LPAC has enlisted some star power to raise funds. “Glee” star Jane Lynch — also a pretty hilarious mainstay in those Christopher Guest mockumentaries — and tennis great Billie Jean King have pledged support, according to the report.
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