Sky’s the limit, apparently.
Last week’s campaign finance filings showed that a Super PAC operated by the Republican Governors Association has already spent more than $500,000 on behalf of Phil Scott.
And there’s only one way it makes sense for them to spend that much money that early: they intend to spend a whole lot more between now and Election Day. I mean, look: they’ve put out a bunch of smiley-face mailers and TV ads in the dead zone of August, for Pete’s sake. That’s a complete waste unless it’s only the opening salvo in a concerted campaign.
I think Lenore Broughton’s record for Super PAC spending in Vermont, roughly $1 million, is doomed. At this rate, the RGA will easily top $2 million, and will almost certainly outspend the candidate himself.
Remind me again how Phil Scott is the authentic Vermonter in this race.
And when the RGA turns negative on Sue Minter, and you know they will, you’ll have to remind me again how Phil Scott hates Washington-style attack ads.
I know, Scott has no control over what the RGA does with its money. But his Simon Purity has got to be tainted by association. If he wins the Governorship with the RGA outspending his own campaign and Minter’s, the big-money, “Washington-style” label can fairly be applied to his victory.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Governors Association has promised to spend competitively with the RGA, but so far they haven’t. Keeping their powder dry, I’m sure; but it’s hard to see them catching up with the RGA.
Back here in the trenches, both candidates are trying to replenish their warchests after a very expensive primary. Minter’s clearly doing better on that score — although the RGA threatens to render her advantage moot.
By the filings, Minter outraised Scott by nearly two to one. At the same time, Scott outspent Minter by nearly two to one. (Deficit spending? Oh, Phil.)
In terms of cash on hand, Scott has a slight edge: $114,000 to $85,000. But Minter has a clear advantage going forward. She’s outraised Scott in four straight reporting periods, she has a generous in-state donor base, and she’s proven she can draw from the EMILY’s List network and the national Democratic money pots.
Not that it’s all about money. But it’s hard to gain momentum if there’s no coal in the hopper.
(Speaking of Washington-style big-money politics, I note with consternation that Phil Scott’s biggest expenditure in the period was $43,000 to Optimus Consulting, a D.C. marketing research firm last seen consulting Marco Rubio into oblivion. Optimus — actually, ZeroPtimus; the first letter is a zero with a slash through it, not a capital O — is a not-at-all Phil Scott style organization that brags of “growth hacking” through the use of “Silicon Valley software and data science to target, iterate, and refine messaging.” And here I thought Phil Scott was so authentic he didn’t need to refine his messaging.
Scott also sent $12,000 to a suburban D.C. firm for polling.
Gee, didn’t Phil earn himself a front-page spot in the Burlington Free Press last Thanksgiving for urging Vermonters to “buy local”? Why yes, yes he did.)
One other note from last week’s filings: Randy Brock’s political re-enactment of “Das Boot” continues apace. While Prog/Dem David Zuckerman is fundraising at a brisk pace, Brock languishes far behind. As the Vermont Press Bureau’s Neal Goswami pointed out, “Brock received about half of his contributions [in this period] from one family.” That would be the Vallees, led by fossil fuel patriarch and unindicted price-fixer Skip Vallee.
Bad news for Brock: Most of the Vallees have hit the legal ceiling for contributions to a single candidate. He’ll have to find a new batch of
suckers donors, and fast; otherwise Zuckerman will leave him in the dust, and his record in statewide campaigns will fall to 1-4. At that point, the VTGOP may reduce his standing from cromulent spot-filler to the Harold Stassen of Vermont Republicanism.