Campaign finance: Winners spend less?

The latest state campaign finance reports for candidates show that in some key races, large outlays of cash made little difference. Winners in three statewide races spent far less than their opponents, who ended up losing at the polls.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, who won re-election by a large margin, raised about $1.23 million and spent about $320,700 on his campaign, while his opponent, Republican Randy Brock spent $806,000. Shumlin spent about $145,000 on two television ads, while Brock ran five ads at a cost of $400,000 and lent himself $300,000 for his campaign.

Incumbent attorney general Bill Sorrell spent $164,000 on his campaign, which included a bruising and expensive primary against spirited Democratic challenger TJ Donovan; his Republican opponent, Jack McMullen, spent about $202,000, of which $150,000 came from his own pocket. McMullen spent less than $13,000 before the Aug. 28 primary.

Auditor-elect Doug Hoffer, who surprised some political observers with his triumph over longtime state Sen. Vince Illuzzi, spent $53,000 on a campaign where he deliberately emphasized social media and online advertising. Vince Illuzzi spent $92,287 on a more traditional grassroots and retail politics campaign.

Shumlin campaign manager Alex MacLean said Shumlin would reserve his significant $932,000 balance for a 2014 gubernatorial bid.

Brock said it’s not surprising that he spent more than the incumbent governor. “As a challenger in a gubernatorial campaign, I think there’s a general pattern,” Brock said. “If you look back historically, challengers have had to spend considerable amounts of money.”

Asked if in hindsight he’d have changed his spending strategies, Brock said: “No. Well, with additional funding, I would have spent more.” Brock, who said last week that he’d likely remain in the world of Vermont policy, still had no hints on where he’d be headed.

Cassandra Gekas, the candidate for lieutenant governor, didn’t file her report by the 5 p.m. deadline, according to Secretary of State officials. Gekas didn’t return a request for comment.

Vermonters First, a Republican super PAC raised more than $1 million and spent $952,400, but didn’t ultimately succeed in restoring more Republicans to Montpelier offices.

Wendy Wilton, who Vermonters First backed in two television ads, lost in her bid for state treasurer, in what was widely viewed as the state’s most competitive race. Vince Illuzzi, who the super PAC initially backed, also lost. The super PAC also spent money trying to install Republicans in the House; Republicans lost three seats there, while Democrats added two.

Lenore Broughton, the super PAC’s reclusive donor who gave just over $1 million, far more the PAC’s six donors, was also joined late in the race by the National Right to Work, a Virginia anti-union group, which gave $2,500.

In the treasurer’s race, incumbent and eventual victor Beth Pearce raised $246,500 and spent $219,700, far more than her challenger Wendy Wilton’s expenditures of $90,000 from $95,600 raised.

Priorities PAC and Vermont Leads, two influential Democratic PACs, didn’t file their campaign finance reports by the state’s deadline.

The most expensive campaign consultants appeared to be Tayt Brooks and Darcie Johnston. Johnston was regularly paid a monthly stipend of $8,000, though in the last month she only received about $3,501 in travel and office expenses. Brooks earned $8,000 in monthly consulting fees from Vermonters First, in September and October. Shumlin’s campaign manager MacLean earned about $3,300 in October.

Democrats seemed to largely prefer two political media firms, Klose Communications in Washington D.C., and Media Strategies & Research in Denver, Colo. The latter is based in the same office building as the Democratic Attorneys General Association.

The state Republican Party poured money into both Brock’s and Wilton’s campaigns, with $32,000 given in total to Brock over the campaign, and $10,000 given to Wilton in late October.

Brock paid the state’s human resources department $183 to gather records on settlements with state employees, his campaign’s last item of spending. Wendy Wilton spent $513 “for meals while on the road.” Pearce spent almost $600 on an airline ticket for Tom Cheney.

Notable contributions this past month


Alvarez & Marsal PAC ($1,000)
American Insurance Association PAC ($500)
Comcast Corporation ($2,000)
Comcast Financial Agency Corporation ($2,000)
Dominion Diagnostics ($500)
Downs Rachlin Martin ($1,000)
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades ($2,000)
Kaman Corporation($1,000)
LifeMED Id ($500)
Local 1996 PAC Fund ($2,000)
Lorillard Tobacco Company ($2,000)
LPAC ($3,500)
McNeil Leddy & Sheahan ($1,000)
Annie Noonan ($200)
RAI Services Company ($2,000)
Vermont Wholesale Beverage Association ($2,000)
Vermont Working Families Party ($1,000)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ($2,000)


IpCapital Group Inc ($2,000)
Remo Pizzagalli (($1,000)
Diane Snelling ($250)
Dubois Construction ($500)
Cabot Cheese ($500)
Champlain Farms ($2,000)
John Casella ($500)
Rutland Skin Center ($2,000)
Vermont Republican Federal Election Committee ($15,000)


Joseph Benning ($200)
Vermont Auto Dealers Association ($250)
Vermont Truck & Bus Association ($250)
Wells Fargo & Co. Employee PAC ($500)
Campaign Research Center ($500)
Bolduc Auto Salvage ($500)
Granite Financial Group ($500)
Monsanto Commpany ($500)
Philip Morris USA ($1,000)
Angela Pizzagalli ($1,000)
Comcast Corporation ($1,000)
Downs Rachlin Martin ($1,000)
Bruce Lisman ($2,000)
Politically Active Contractors of Vermont LLC ($2,000)


Donna Carpenter ($2,000)
Peter Galbraith ($300)
Marijuana Policy Project ($250)
Chitt Co Solar Prtnrs ($2,000)
Angelo Pizzagalli ($200)
Tony Klein ($200)
Main Street Landing Co. ($1,000)
Frank Cioffi ($100)
David Coates ($500)
Richard Mazza ($300)
F & M Development ($1,000)
Crea Lintilhac ($500)
William Carris ($500)
Welch for Congress ($1,000)
Elizabeth Steele ($1,000)


Lenore Broughton ($1,000)


Addison County Democrats ($900)
Jo Bradley ($100)
Chittenden County Democratic Party ($250)
David Coates ($500)
Comcast ($250)
James C. Condos ($1,000)
Committee to Elect Herb Font-Russell ($200)
DRIVE committee ($1,000)
Alice Emmons ($100)
Tony Klein ($1,000)
Mary G. Powell ($250)
Progressive Voters of America ($2,500)
Pritam Singh ($2,000)
Gaye Symington ($100)
TJ Donovan for Attorney General ($250)
United Professions AFT VT ($500)
Vermont Political Awareness Committee ($2,000)


Vermont Republican Federal Elections Committee ($10,000)
Eckhardt for State Representative ($1,000)
Nuclear Committee of ENPAC, Entergy Corp Political Action Committee ($500)
Myers Container Service Corporation ($500)


Progressive Voters of America ($2,000)
Peter Shumlin for Governor ($500)
Chittenden Democratic Committee ($250)
Zuckerman for VT Senate ($500)
Addison County Democratic Party Committee ($900)


Philip Morris USA ($1,000)
Antonio Pomerleau ($1,000)
Comcast ($500)
Christopher Rice ($200)
Robert McEwing ($200)
Joseph Juhasz ($200)
Pike Industries ($250)
Associated General Contractors of VT ($1,000)
Richard Mazza ($100)
AT&T ($800)

Nat Rudarakanchana

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