Everybody in the pool

So the news broke on Labor Day: Phil Scott announces that he will announce he plans to announce a run for governor.

It’s more than a year till Election Day, and we’ve already got extremely competitive races on both the Democratic and Republican sides. Pop quiz for Vermont history buffs: when was the last time that happened? If it ever has?

And I do have a prediction. Not on the winner; aside from Scott wiping the floor with Bruce Lisman in the GOP primary, it’s way too early to pick winners. But I can say, without much trepidation, that this will be the most expensive campaign for a state elected office in Vermont history.

Heck, there may be more money spent in the primaries alone than in any previous full campaign.

So far, we’ve got two very credible candidates in each major party. One has a Wall Street fortune to draw upon, and the proven willingness to write big checks to influence policy; the other three have deep and strong connections amongst the donor class. Upon announcing his candidacy, Matt Dunne disclosed that his proto-campaign had already raised over $200,000. Phil Scott told WPTZ today that he’s got $150,000 in the bank, presumably including the nearly $100K saved up from his runs for Lieutenant Governor.

As for the only candidate I haven’t named yet, I think it’s safe to say that Shap Smith knows where the money is and how to get it. (I see where he paid a visit to Bennington last week and picked up an endorsement from the powerful Sen. Dick Sears. Nice.)

And then there’s Sue Minter. Between her service to the Shumlin administration and her potential presence as the only woman in the race, she’d do perfectly fine in fundraising and organization-buliding. (If, that is, she decides to run. Given the competition, I wouldn’t blame her if she opted out.)

I’d call it an embarrassment of riches, but politicians seldom get embarrassed over money.

So the 2016 gubernatorial campaign will shatter all records for money in Vermont politics. We’re also likely to have a very competitive race for Lt. Gov., and we’ll probably see a healthy dose of outside money in support of Vermont Republicans, as we saw in 2014 House and Senate races.

Sad to say, 2016 is likely to set a new standard for Vermont politics. Longer campaigns, and more expensive ones.

Hey, remember when the legislature rejected a proposal to require more frequent campaign finance reports in off-years? They might want to rethink that. With four people already running for governor, there is no such thing as an off-year anymore.

3 thoughts on “Everybody in the pool

  1. brucepost

    “Sad to say, 2016 is likely to set a new standard for Vermont politics. Longer campaigns, and more expensive ones.” I totally agree. Personally, if this is the new practice in Vermont, we might as well move to a four-year term. Actually, I have better reasons to justify a four-year term than that, but again, if this is the new norm …?

    Also, if my memory is reliable on this, I believe that Jim Jeffords announced for the 1972 Republican nomination for Governor in April, 1972, up in Enosburg Falls on the Town Green before a sparse crowd that included the local drunk. It was a hotly contested primary with Fred Hackett. Back then, the primary was held in September, but believe me, in between April and September, we got a lot of politics crammed into a shorter time frame than occurs today. Quantity, in terms of time, does not always equal quality.

  2. Sterry

    Never in My Memory

    In 1972 Fred Hackett beat Jim Jeffords in the GOP Gov primary and then Tom Salmon ( D) defeated Hackett in the General.

    A real competitive GOP Gov primary was in 1964 Ralph Foote, Robert S Babcock and Roger MacBride Foote won then was decimated by Phil Hoff as LBJ carried Vermont in 1964.

    Sent from my iPhone Steve Terry Addison Consulting 15 Sheldon Lane Middlebury, Vt 05753 802-310-3987 steveterryvt@gmail.com


  3. Joseph Donaldson

    That Shap Smith and Dick Sears relationship makes me uneasy. As uneasy as the Phil Scott and Dick Mazza bromance. These are all career politicians who don’t want to lose the cozy set up they have at the State House. I hope someone jumps in who isn’t the same old flavor, saying the same old things and then doing little about it.


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