Campaign redux: Shumlin has $1 million on hand; Brock has $100,000 in cash

Gov. Peter Shumlin, the incumbent Democrat, reigns supreme on the fundraising front with 10 times more money on hand than his opponent, Republican Randy Brock.

The Shumlin campaign reports $170,000 in new money this month. His war chest now tops $1.165 million, and he has $1 million on hand. With just three weeks left in the campaign, Shumlin has spent less than 15 percent of his total take so far in this election cycle on advertising, staff, mailings and polls.

Alex MacLean, his campaign manager, says “he will be on TV before the end of the campaign.”

In fact, the governor plans to make a mass media buy on Tuesday and an ad will be up later this week.

More than $20,000 of the governor’s most recent inflow of cash came from California donors who attended a LGBT fundraising event in Los Angeles in mid-September. Shumlin spearheaded the passage of the gay marriage bill in Vermont in 2009.

Randy Brock, the Republican candidate for governor, brought in just $45,000 in the last month, bringing his total to $692,322. Of that amount, the state senator gave himself $300,000. Brock hasn’t said whether he will self-fund another injection of cash. He has spent $585,325 so far and has roughly $100,000 on hand for the remaining three weeks of the campaign.

Synopsis of downticket races

Incumbents tend to have the home team advantage on the fundraising court — regardless of party. Though there is one exception this election season: Bill Sorrell, the Vermont Attorney General, is struggling after a bruising primary race, to keep up with his largely self-funded opponent Jack McMullen.

Lieutenant governor

Phil Scott, the Republican incumbent, raised $54,000 in the last month. In all, he has amassed about $150,000 and he has spent about $117,000. At the moment, he has about $33,000 on hand. Scott’s remaining funds are roughly equivalent to what his challenger Cassandra Gekas has raised in total. Gekas, a newcomer to politics who is running as a Progressive/Democrat, has brought in a total of $38,830.

State treasurer

Beth Pearce, the Democratic incumbent, raised $53,000 over the last 30 days, bringing her grand total up to $186,000. In the last two weeks, she has spent $40,000 on TV ad buys and has invested in three campaign staffers. She has $47,904 in cash left. Wendy Wilton has raised 40 percent what Pearce has so far, with a total of $75,000 in contributions, and she’s spent most of that. She has about $5,000 remaining in her campaign kitty.

State auditor

The state auditor’s race is wide open this year, but the fundraising for this statewide office is lopsided anyway. Vince Illuzzi, the Republican state senator from the Northeast Kingdom, has a larger stash of cash — $75,000 — than his Democratic opponent, Doug Hoffer, who has brought in about $47,000. Both men have dipped into their own pockets. Illuzzi gave himself $25,000; Hoffer gave his campaign a loan of $10,000.

Vermont Attorney General

Bill Sorrell, the incumbent attorney general, was forced to spend a wad of cash in the near-miss primary against TJ Donovan. He won that race by about 700 votes, and money wise has been limping through the General Election. Jack McMullen, his GOP rival, has loaned himself $152,000 and has spent $176,000 so far. He has about $24,000 on hand. Sorrell meanwhile has spent about $138,000 and has about $3,000 left over for the remaining three weeks of the campaign. Nevertheless, the attorney general is so confident of his victory that he let go of his campaign manager Mike Pieciak several weeks ago.

The biggest GOP spender is outside the race

Lenore Broughton, the force behind Vermonters First, has contributed a half million dollars to the conservative super PAC in the last campaign finance reporting period.

As of Monday, Broughton has given a grand total of $683,961 to Vermonters First since the PAC was launched this summer. Of that total, $534,621 has been spent on advertising ($200,000), robotic calls to prospective voters ($108,291) and mailings ($226,330). On Oct. 11, Broughton spent $17,500 on a public opinion poll.

Vermonters First has funded broadcast advertising campaigns to boost Republican candidates, including Sen. Vince Illuzzi, who is running for state auditor, and Rutland city Treasurer Wendy Wilton, who is in a tight race for the state treasurer’s office. These ads have focused on positive messages about the candidates.

Two recent ads, however, have been direct attacks on Democrats, namely Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision to release a financing plan proposal for a single-payer health care system after the election and a discussion in the Legislature about lowering and broadening the state sales tax.

The health care ad drew the ire of a small group of single-payer health care protesters who marched from Burlington’s Old North End on Thursday to deliver a letter to Broughton, imploring her to stop her ad campaign because they said it would have “serious financial and health consequences for almost every Vermonter.”

Broughton is also the sixth largest political donor to national causes in the state.

She gave more than $68,000 to 21 national candidates and 11 political action committees over the last two years.

Vermonters First has about $130,000 on hand.

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Anne Galloway

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  • Ralph Colin

    Ms. Ward,

    Do you ask the same question of George Soros and all the other fat cats who contribute millions to Democratic candidats and left wing SuperPACs?

    Is your anger generated by pure prejudice or just envy?

  • Imagine how many JOBs could be created with a HALF-MILLION DOLLARS … in the negative campaign advertising industry?

    The question is whether those new media jobs were Vermont jobs?

    I wonder if these Super PAC “contributions” can be characterized as a “business expense”, which can be written off to lower taxes?

    If a citizen donates to a campaign, they cannot deduct this donation, since it is NOT a non-profit entity, like say the Red Cross.

    But a Super PAC is a whole new type of entity. Are the contributions to Super PACs personal contributions, or do they come from a business entity, which would treat it as a business expense. If they are considered a business expense, these “contributions” could also cause a increase in prices for products / services by the contributing business (inflation). Inflation is drag on our economy.

    The whole election financing system is a ridiculous “arms race” of wanton spending. Don’t raise my taxes, but I will blow thousands (or millions) on negative ads.