Deep-pocketed Lieutenant Governor hopeful stakes his claim

Well, here’s an interesting tidbit from Campaign Finance Reporting Day. (July 15 is a deadline for campaign finance reports.)

Brandon Riker, Brattleboro resident and (as far as I know) the only declared candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has raised over $100,000 for his campaign.

That number almost made me shoot Vermont Coffee Company coffee out my nose.

And then I looked down the list of major donors, and one name dominated the list.

“Riker.”

Young Brandon has given his own campaign $58,500. Other people named Riker (Brent, Craig, Julia, Leslie, Barbara, Dale, and Stephanie) have kicked in $28,000.

Nice to be a member of a family that can spare 86 grand on a newcomer’s first political campaign.

So, many of you may be wondering, “Who the hell is Brandon Riker?” From his campaign website:

Brandon Riker is a Democrat, small business entrepreneur and dedicated Vermonter who represents a new generation of leaders for Vermont.

… Brandon is running for Lt. Governor because he understands the difficulties Vermont’s small businesses face in competing in a 21st century economy with 20th century infrastructure.

Hmm. That must be one hell of a “small business” that’s given a very youthful entrepreneur the wherewithal to self-fund a statewide campaign. So where do the Rikers get their money from?

… his mother, Barbara, was one of the first female executives to take a company public on the New York Stock Exchange with AirTouch Communications, the third largest IPO of any kind in U.S. history at the time. Brandon’s father, Dale, built and sold a software company.

Ahhhh. Tech bubble. (AirTouch, for those keeping score, doesn’t exist anymore. It went through a series of mergers and is now part of the Verizon Wireless empire.) Dale and Barbara are now top executives at the Teucrium Fund, a Brattleboro-based investment firm that focuses on food commodities. (Hey kids, why not invest in the Teucrium Sugar Fund? It’s a growth business, ha ha ha.)

None of this necessarily reflects on Young Master Riker as a candidate. I know nothing about his politics besides the boilerplate summary on his website. But I have an inherent suspicion of self-funded candidates. (See: Tarrant, Rich; McMullen, Jack; Galbraith, Peter.) He and his family have the resources to pre-empt any other potential Democrats, and his finance report shows that they’re willing to bet big.

I hope his policy chops are as strong as his pockets are deep.

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