Campaign finance: Shumlin banks more than $700,000 for probable re-election bid

Shumlin at his 2012 campaign launch. Photo by Anne Galloway

Gov. Peter Shumlin at his 2012 campaign launch. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger

Gov. Peter Shumlin pulled in $87,620 in donations in 2013, padding a war chest that now stands at $706,692.

Shumlin’s campaign treasurer, Kate O’Connor, said Monday the balance shows “strong support for Governor Shumlin.” Shumlin has also been able to recoup all of the $275,000 he loaned to his campaign in 2010.

Monday was the deadline for campaign finance disclosures. The governor’s report covers the period running from Dec. 15, 2012, to July 15, 2013. This is the last glimpse of campaign finance activity until the next filing date, July 15, 2014.

Most of the early-bird donations came from individuals, ranging from the familiar — Shumlin’s brother, Jeffrey Shumlin — to the farther removed:  The governor has collected seven donations from Florida residents.

The majority of the contributions fell on the high-roller end of the spectrum, by Vermont standards, as most were in the range of $1,000 to $2,000. Shumlin took in just three donations under $100, and all but $120 came from contributions of $100 or more. The inflow of 2013 donations kicked off March 5, with a $2,000 donation from an enigmatic-sounding contributor listed as 723, LLC and based in Miami.

The governor’s press secretary, Sue Allen, said Shumlin isn’t discussing his 2014 campaign plans yet.

“Gov. Shumlin was asked about his political plans at today’s press conference, and said he won’t be turning to that question for some time. He is focused on governing,” Allen wrote in an email response to a request for comment.

Shumlin, in addition to raking in nearly $100,000 for his own campaign, has also been focused on another fundraising task.

According to a Politico story published Friday, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) raised $15 million from January 2013 to June 2013 — more than it’s ever raised during a six-month period in a non-election year. Shumlin, as DGA chairman, has been at the helm of the fundraising effort during that period.

Back in Vermont, Eric Davis, a retired Middlebury College political science professor, is as blunt as Shumlin is cagey about the governor’s future political plans.

“He’s obviously going to run for re-election,” Davis said. “This is exactly the same thing he said two years ago. He formally announced his campaign quite late, and I expect he’ll work on basically the same calendar for 2014.”

The campaign finance report doesn’t reveal anything surprising about the contours of Shumlin’s coffers, Davis said. “It shows the overwhelming advantage incumbent governors have. Shumlin demonstrated in 2012, he’ll demonstrate it again in 2014, and (Jim) Douglas did the same when he was governor.”

The campaign of Randy Brock, Shumlin’s Republican challenger, also saw a trickle of post-election cash, but the bulk of it — all but $175 — came from the Vermont Republican Party, which was simply making good on the $10,000 it had promised Brock mid-campaign.

“Randy was kind enough to stand in line,” party chairman Jack Lindley said, to allow the party time to rustle up the promised funds. The final $5,000 donation came April 30.

Super PACs

Lenore Broughton is still funneling large amounts of money into the conservative super PAC, Vermonters First. The Burlington resident, who poured roughly $1 million into the super PAC during the last election, furnished the outfit with another $90,000 in 2013. The super PAC also netted some smaller fish, taking in 58 donations that together amounted to $1,370. All that seems to be keeping Vermonters First barely afloat — it blew through $90,315 during the same period. More than half of that went to Target Enterprises,a California-based political consulting and “media placement” shop.

Attorney General

Attorney General Bill Sorrell addressed supporters at his official campaign launch in the Cedar Creek Room in the Statehouse May 30. VTD Photo/Taylor Dobbs

Attorney General Bill Sorrell addressed supporters at his official campaign launch in the Cedar Creek Room in the Statehouse May 30. VTD Photo/Taylor Dobbs

Attorney General Bill Sorrell’s account has remained mostly static for the past seven months. Sorrell didn’t net any contributions, and he paid roughly $4,000 in leftover campaign expenses, leaving him with $7,261 in the bank.

Davis said, “If he hasn’t raised any money or shown any signs of political activity, that could be a sign that he is retiring.”

But Sorrell sought to quash that strain of speculation, saying it’s always been his plan to put politics on the back burner in 2013 and he still has “plenty of time” to fundraise.

“No one should read anything into this,” Sorrell said. “I planned and have told people right along that I was going to concentrate on doing the attorney general job until this fall and then start thinking about running.

“I have not even given that serious thought,” Sorrell said, and he doesn’t plan to until next summer. “I had enough politics last year.”

Sorrell breezed past his Republican opponent, Jack Mullen, in the general election but his campaign narrowly avoided derailment during the Democratic primary beforehand.

Sorrell’s opponent in that primary, T.J. Donovan, actually outpaced Sorrell in fundraising, but only barely. Donovan, the Chittenden County state’s attorney, took in $243, leaving his campaign with a surplus of $3,327.

Lieutenant governor

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, who spent much of his campaign traversing the state by bicycle, hasn’t brought in any new contributions in 2013. Scott, who still has a surplus of $45,276, has paid out nearly $4,000 in expenses. Among them are more than $200 worth of holiday cards and roughly $650 for jackets and embroidery.

State Auditor

State Auditor Doug Hoffer took care of $900 of leftover campaign expenses. He did not take in any new contributions.

State treasurer

State Treasurer Beth Pearce, a Democrat, took in 10 donations, adding up to about $6,900. A polling expense leftover from the 2012 race ate up roughly half of that. More recently, Pearce has paid a Vermont-based political consulting firm, Theseus Advisors, a total of $2,250 in installments stretching from January to late May.

Secretary of State

Secretary of State Jim Condos hasn’t reeled in much money, but his filing showcases some diligent accounting — the sole contribution recorded is for 85 cents.

Vermont still lacks an online searchable database for tracking campaign finance activity. Instead, reports are submitted in-person and scanned copies are posted online. Two campaign finance filings, attached at the end of this story, attest to the difficulties of deciphering what are often hand-written reports.

This story was last updated at 8:27 a.m. on Tuesday July 16, 2013


Alicia Freese

Comments

  1. Kathy Nelson :

    It’s wrong to say Shumlin has strong public support when a few wealthy in-state, and out-of-state Democrats shell out thousands to keep a fool in office. Has any of this money been funneled through his wind developer buddies(like the Grays)?
    The Progressives have nothing to offer and the Republicans have brought in a goon from Texas to organize their party. Phil Scott wants to keep his second-in-command office because it gives him more time to play with his bikes and cars.
    Where does this leave the Vermonters who are struggling to just get by? Vermont doesn’t need Shumlin, it needs a leader with integrity, intelligence, courage and compassion.
    Any suggestions from commentland?

  2. Carl Werth :

    I don’t think I could name many people who have all 4 of those qualities, nevermind a politican who has even two of them at most.

    If you ever find someone who has all 4 of those qualities AND they want to run for office – I will back them 100%!

  3. Timothy MacLam :

    “The majority of the contributions fell on the high-roller end of the spectrum, by Vermont standards, as most were in the range of $1,000 to $2,000. Shumlin took in just three donations under $100, and all but $120 came from contributions of $100 or more. The inflow of 2013 donations kicked off March 5, with a $2,000 donation from an enigmatic-sounding contributor listed as 723, LLC and based in Miami.”

    Gov. Peter Shumlin, a shifty huckster, devoid of ethics, and TRULY a friend of the rich.

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