When I wrote earlier this week that Lt. Gov. Molly Gray is the early favorite over Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint in the race for Vermont’s Congressional seat, I closed with this line:
…those who underestimate Balint do so at their peril.
Well, I’m sure glad I wrote that. Balint took the opening round of the campaign yesterday by announcing a first-day fundraising total of $125,000. This, after the Gray campaign had boasted of raising $110,000 in the first week.
Gray laid down a full house. Balint topped her with a straight flush.
Now, it’s ridiculously early. Both candidates had impressive hauls, and both will raise enough money to be seriously competitive. But political folk take note of this stuff. That one-day total proved that Balint is a serious contender.
Especially given Gray’s connections to the power brokers in Vermont politics. It’s no surprise that she raised a bunch of money right off the bat. It is a surprise that Balint did so much better. If there were any doubts about her ability to play the inside game as well as Gray, well, they’re gone. My own questions about Balint’s ability to lead the Senate and conduct an intense campaign at the same time are not entirely gone, but they seem less relevant today.Continue reading