Well, well. Somebody in the Phil Scott campaign has turned the spigot.
After sleepwalking its way through 2022, Team Scott got serious about fundraising in the first half of October. Before that, Scott’s fundraising had totaled $151,514, which is peanuts for a gubernatorial campaign. Then, in only two weeks, Scott raised $47,544 according to his latest finance filing (due on October 15).
That’s nearly one-quarter of his campaign total in only two weeks.
Is somebody hearing footsteps?
The flurry of activity meant that for the first time in three campaign finance cycles, Scott actually outraised his challenger, Brenda Siegel. She took in $16,613 in the first half of October for a campaign total of $163,342. That’s a solid pace for only 15 days. As usual, Siegel donors far outnumbered Scott’s. She’s received donations from 875 individuals and groups compared to Scott’s 545.
Neither candidate spent much money in the period. Siegel has more than $84,000 in the bank, which should allow her to finance a significant TV ad buy. Scott has $91,519 on hand, plus a nice $272,000 kitty left over from previous campaigns, so he’s got plenty to spend if he wants to.
Now, let’s take a closer look at who suddenly opened their wallets for the governor.
There was an extreme disparity between large and small donations, even by Scott’s standards. Almost all of the $47,544 he raised in the past two weeks was in donations over $100. Scott only took in $3,530 in under-$100 gifts. That’s less than four percent of his total. (Siegel’s small-donation total was $5,034, nearly one-third of her takings.)
Big-dollar donors included a handful of multinational corporations. Molson Coors gave $4,000 (the max allowable donation is $4,210), Anheuser Busch gave $1,500, and Astellas Pharma and Global Companies LLC gave $1,000 each.
Astellas is a Tokyo-based multinational. Its donation is small beer compared to the $100 million it paid in 2019 to settle allegations that it had paid kickbacks to get more Medicare patients to use its drugs. (It funneled money to “copay foundations” that are set up to help patients cover their copays or deductibles.) Global Companies is a multinational that transports fossil fuels. But it would be unfair to suggest that its donation was a payback for Scott’s veto of the clean heat standard, and I would never do such a thing.
Notable individuals on Scott’s list for this period: Angelo and Judith Pizzagalli of the Burlington-based construction firm (a combined $6,000), Michael Francis, CEO of DEW Construction ($4,210), former Scott nemesis Bruce Lisman ($2,500), former Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille ($1,500), and four members of the Zecchinelli family, owners of the Wayside Restaurant ($1,000 apiece).
Scott’s expenditure report indicates that at least one big fundraiser was held. The campaign paid the New Hampshire Motor Speedway $3,000 for hall rental, and black-hat lobbyist Heidi Tringe spent $1,206 on refreshments for a fundraiser. Both expenditures occurred on October 12, so presumably they were for the same event.
The timing of the fundraiser and the brisk pace of fundraising for Scott speaks of a significant effort to boost his campaign coffers as he enters the homestretch.
Somebody must be at least a little nervous about this election. There was no such effort in 2018 or 2020, so it’s fair to conclude that Brenda Siegel has already done better than either Christine Hallquist or David Zuckerman. She has, at least, made Team Scott put in some effort.
“But it would be unfair to suggest that its donation was a payback for Scott’s veto of the clean heat standard, and I would never do such a thing.”
Just keep following the money. Thanks for putting this out in the open.
There’s also that other candidate, who took 12% of the Republican primary vote while spending less than 1.5 cents per vote. Maybe the anxiety on both Red and Blue teams comes from the presence of a gubernatorial candidate who doesn’t accept the false battle lines that have been laid out.