Daily Archives: July 18, 2022

Chittenden Senate: Brother, Can I Spare a Dime?

One thing stands out when you look over the campaign finance filings for the three state Senate districts in Chittenden County: There are lots of candidates, and most of ’em aren’t raising much money anywhere outside of their own pockets. Seems like a potential equity issue; if you can afford a couple thousand bucks or more, or a LOT more, you don’t have to worry so much about fundraising from other people.

Maybe this is a byproduct of splitting up the formerly unified Chittenden district: No longer can candidates raise money from anywhere in the county. Now they have smaller fields to harvest. Likely a bigger factor: There are a lot of contested statewide races consuming a lot of Democratic money, perhaps away from legislative races.)

The king of the self-funders is Erhard Mahnke, affordable housing advocate and longtime Bernie Sanders associate. He dumped a cool $10,000 into his own campaign, and has only raised $666 from anyone else. That gives him a financial lead in the Chittenden Central district, because he hasn’t spent much so far.

Other notable self-funders include Brian Shelden and Irene Wrenner, Democratic candidates in Chittenden North. They’ve given nearly $7,500 to their own campaigns and raised less than that from other people. Meanwhile, the sole Republican, state Rep. Leland Morgan, has barely tried. He’s raised less than $700. Perhaps he’s looked at district demographics and decided he doesn’t really need to try. Or he’s waiting until after the primary.

Back in Chittenden Central, the top three fundraisers have done well from their own pockets and from others, too.

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