Gleanings from campaign finance reports

Some very interesting stuff in today’s campaign finance filings. This is the first reporting deadline for Vermont candidates since last July, an eternity in political terms. (Perhaps the Legislature will deign to create a few more reporting periods for the next cycle?)

Reactions, in rough order of importance:

Yes, Bruce Lisman is serious about this running-for-governor thing. He has poured $454,000 of his own money into his campaign, and he raised a non-inconsequential $171,000 from other people, for a healthy total of $625,000. On the other hand, his campaign has a very high burn rate; he’s already spent $571,000. He’s been spending heavily and consistently since the early fall of last year –much of it on staff salaries, consultant firms, and the services of Capital Connections, the PR/lobby shop fronted by his spokesperson Shawn Shouldice.

Because of his high burn rate, Lisman has by far the least cash on hand of all the four major candidates for governor. Of course, he can always write himself a bunch more checks, so weep not for Bruce.

Fun fact: Lisman scored a $2,500 contribution from Wall Street TV shouter Lawrence Kudlow.

Phil Scott is doing just fine, thanks for asking. He’s raised $414,000 and spent a little more than half that. And all of that 414K came from other people — so, as expected, he’s got a lot more fundraising clout than Lisman. It must be noted that, of the four major candidates for governor, Scott has raised the smallest amount of money. But somehow I expect he can kick it into a higher gear when he needs to.

Fun fact: Some regular Republican donors are playing both sides of this race. The names “Pizzagalli” and “Pecor,” among others, have been generous to Lisman and Scott.

Sue Minter is off to a rousing start, nearly matching Matt Dunne’s performance. Minter has actually raised more money since last July 15: $487,000 to Dunne’s $452,000. Of course, Dunne had raised over $100,000 before July 15.

Dunne’s total haul: an impressive $567,000. But if we’re playing the expectations game, I’d say Minter scores a clean win here. In addition to her very strong performance to date, she has only recently won the endorsement of EMILY’s List. She’s only begun to enjoy the fruits of that relationship.

In short, neither Democratic candidate is hurting for money. Dunne has spent $135,000 so far and Minter $159,000, so both have plenty in the bank.

Fun fact: I had a brief moment of shock when I saw that House Speaker Shap Smith had filed a report as a candidate for governor. “Is he getting back in?” I asked myself. Well, no; the report simply reflects fundraising and spending done before he dropped out of the race.

In the Democratic race for lieutenant governor, the two most prominent candidates are doing pretty well. State Rep. Kesha Ram cleared the $100,000 mark, very nice for a Lite-Guv campaign. She’s spent more than one-third of her take so far, so she’ll need to keep priming the pump. (I hear she recently made a fundraising trip to the West Coast. And yes indeed, there are several large donations from California residents.)

Sen. David Zuckerman did just fine, especially considering that until late last week, he was still hoping to qualify for public financing. That meant he was concentrating on large numbers of small donations. Still, he pulled in a total of $65,000, with $28,000 in donations under $100 apiece. Now that a federal judge’s ruling will prevent him from seeking public financing, he can start seriously raising money. He’s off to a good start. And he’s spent less money than Ram, so he’s in her ballpark in terms of cash on hand.

There’s no sign of Republican success in finding candidates for other statewide offices.  No Republican filed a campaign finance report for Auditor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, or Treasurer.

A few interesting notes from State Senate filings.  Three Democrats who’ve talked of a run for Senate — effectively hoping to fill the vacancy left by Zuckerman — filed reports. Two of them, Faisal Gill ($16,000) and David Scherr ($28,000) reported strong contributions. The third, Dawn Ellis, raised less than $1,000 and spent a bit more than that.

Up in Franklin County, only one person filed for the two Senate seats. That would be incumbent Republican Dustin Degree. Suspended Senator Norm McAllister did not file; nor did any of the Franklin politicos who’ve been mentioned as potential candidates.

And in Washington County, Democrat Ashley Hill reported raising $5,600 and spending about half that much. Not bad for a Senate district not named Chittenden. My county is currently represented by Republican Bill Doyle, Democrat Ann Cummings, and P/D Anthony Pollina. Those three have been nigh unbeatable in recent years, although it’s possible that Doyle might finally decide to retire. Just speculating there.

That’s about it from me. Anything jump out at anyone else?


3 thoughts on “Gleanings from campaign finance reports

  1. Walter Carpenter

    “And in Washington County, Democrat Ashley Hill reported raising $5,600 and spending about half that much.”

    I’d love to see Ashley do well. I know her, though not that well. She’s young and has a huge amount of energy and would be great as a senator.

  2. Robert Haskins

    Do the math on Lisman, what’s $571,000 divided by 2% of Republican primary vote? The balding bear of Wall Street is on pace to blow $2,000,000….on a primary.Think about that. Lisman cleared fifty million dollars swindling Americans out of their 401ks while Vermonters were eating cat chow when the economy collapsed in 2008.

    1. Macy Franklin

      What jumps out at me is who on earth would donate to Lisman’s listless campaign? Must be his fellow out-of-state Wall Street cronies like Kudlow. I’ve heard him speak and he’s about as inspiring as a box of oatmeal. Phil Scott hasn’t been pressed to raise money because Lisman’s chances of winning the Republican primary are slightly less than said box of cereal.


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