The Republican State Leadership Committee, a national PAC devoted to boosting state-level candidates around the country, has dipped into its nearly bottomless wallet once again, dumping another $48,000 into Vermont politics. That brings their campaign-to-date total to more than $291,000.
This time, it’s on behalf of Republican candidates in the Legislature, including the VTGOP’s handful of authentic hopefuls in contested districts. The RSLC’s latest buy is “Postcards” for such worthies as Corey Parent, Scot Shumski, Michael Ly, Valerie Mullin, Joey Purvis, and Janssen Willhoit. The PAC’s official filing lists a total of 25 candidates “mentioned” in the material.
(For those interested in gender equity, that’s five women and 20 men.)
Earlier, I’d compared RSLC’s initial outlay to tossing money on a bonfire. And I still don’t think RSLC’s spending will have much effect on this campaign — especially with a lot of the money going to old-media tactics that don’t seem to work all that well. But RSLC’s continued spending could signal that it’s in Vermont for the long haul. And by RSLC standards, it wouldn’t take much money to tip the scales here. These bastards are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
I’d be more worried if they weren’t spending their money on the aerial-bombardment approach: ad buys and mailers. As Lenore Broughton discovered two years ago, a top-down, traditional-media campaign unconnected from a strong ground effort is a good way to waste money. If RSLC really wanted to have an impact, it’d pump some funds into the financially-starved VTGOP and help develop a political infrastructure.
Of course, if RSLC did that, it’d be subject to tougher restrictions on gifts to political parties. And it’d have less control over the process, which is anathema to the corporate high-rollers who dominate the RSLC donor list.
Postscript. Republicans might well argue that liberals don’t have much room for complaint, considering Gov. Shumlin’s big-dollar campaign, much of which comes from outside Vermont. And they have a point; there is a bit of hypocrisy at play. (Hypocrisy in politics??? I am shocked, shocked!) But there is a distinction between a Vermont candidate raising money wherever s/he can and controlling its use, and a big national organization parachuting into Vermont and making a power play.