While prepping for my weekly guest spot on Brattleboro’s WKVT Radio (available in podcast form here), I spent some time looking over the Vermont election returns from last Tuesday. And i found some things that surprised me. (All taken from the Secretary of State’s unofficial results.)
For starters, here are three numbers.
The first two are the vote totals for Phil Scott and Sue Minter respectively.
The third? The number of votes in Vermont for Hillary Clinton.
Does that surprise you? It surprised me. Clinton outpolled Phil Scott by nearly 12,000 votes. Sue Minter fell disastrously short of Clinton’s total.
If Minter had simply been able to ride Clinton’s coattails, she would have won the governorship.
(And if Democrats had been smarter when they had legislative majorities and the governorship, they would have established a straight-ticket option on the ballot. Just sayin’.)
Two years ago, the Republican State Leadership Committee funneled $370,000 into Vermont, backing candidates in close races for the Vermont House. The VTGOP won several of those seats and took away the Democrats’ supermajority status.
So far this year, the RSLC has spent a lot less. But a handful of closer-to-home moneybags have taken matters into their own hands. They’ve donated more than $100,000 to individual Republican House candidates and House Minority Leader Don Turner’s political action committee.
In the small-dollar world of State House campaigns, that’s a huge amount of money.
First, a hat tip to Green Mountain Daily’s Sue Prent, who reported on the Franklin County iteration of this phenomenon a couple weeks ago. Turns out, it’s only part of a bigger pattern. But because the money is broadly dispersed, the pattern has attracted little attention.
Two of the donors are familiar names to anyone who follows Vermont politics. The other two might be new to you.