Drivin’ down the highway, throwin’ money out the windows

That would appear to be Governor Shumlin’s campaign strategy in the final two weeks of the campaign. Faced with less-than-daunting opposition from the likes of Mr. Blandy and Mr. Fringey, not to mention Ms. Hempy, Hat Lady and The Beard, the Governor has been spending money like he’s running against a Koch brother.

The final pre-election campaign finance deadline was today, and Shumlin’s money machine was in overdrive, raising another $179,000* since mid-October and spending an incredible $342,000, more than half of it on TV advertising.

*Including $96,000 in cash, and $83,000 in “in-kind” donations. The latter were services performed by the state Democratic Party: robocalls and mailers. I guess his campaign was too strapped for cash to foot the bills himself, sheesh. 

That’s $342,000 spent in two and a half weeks. 

That brings his total spending on the campaign to $890,000, which is almost three times as much as he spent two years ago to defeat Randy Brock. Unless he’s really scared of Scott Milne, I’d say he’s going all out to boost his vote total. A finish under 50% would be embarrassing and make a serious dent in his political clout for his third term; anything less than 53% or so would be a significant deflation of his 2012 total, and weaken him going into the fight for single-payer health care.

Scott Milne, meanwhile, did well by his low standards, but mainly because he injected a bunch of his own money into his own campaign. He took in $91,000 since Oct. 15, but that includes a $50,000 loan to his campaign and $25K in “in-kind” contributions; the lion’s share of that was in the form of mass mailings done by the Vermont Republican State Committee on Milne’s behalf.

For the entire campaign, he’s raised $238,000. But that includes almost $90,000 from himself and his family. Plus another $20K or so from the famous Boieses.

He spent $98,000 since Oct. 15, mainly on TV ads, bringing his total spending for the campaign to $211,000. Which would be a nice total if he were running for Lieutenant Governor, but it’s simply not enough to be competitive, especially against Governor Moneybags.

Libertarian Dan Feliciano, meanwhile, limped to the finish line with a few thousand bucks in outside donations plus another $10,000 in self-funding. Most of his recent spending was on airing his awful TV ad. But again, Feliciano showed no sign of attracting broad support as expressed in campaign donations. He got damn little, in fact. In the marketplace of ideas, nobody was buying Dan the Libertarian Man.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, incumbent Phil Scott eased back the pace. He raised less than $10,000 and spent about $10,000 since the last report. For the entire campaign, he’s raised $289,000 and spent $233,000.

The big news there is that Scott will head into the next campaign with a good-sized warchest by the standards of anyone other than Peter Shumlin, Pat Leahy, Peter Welch, and Bernie Sanders. He reports cash-on-hand totaling $98,000, which is a nice head start on 2016.

His opponent Dean Corren, as reported in this space, went on a spending binge in the last two weeks. He spent $92,000 since Oct. 15, including an intensive (by Lt. Gov. standards) TV ad campaign. And he planned out his expenditures intelligently; his campaign to date has spent $188,000, leaving only $12,000 left of his (mainly publicly financed) $200,000 kitty.

And now, ’tis the night before Election, and all through the state, not a candidate was stirring. Not even… hmm… does anybody’s name rhyme with “state”?

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