Tag Archives: Patricia Preston

The Money Race: Lieutenant Governor

If you want to encapsulate the Vermont Republican Party’s statewide ballot woes, the latest campaign finance reports spell it out right clear.

The four Democratic candidates took in a combined $110,000 in the period ending July 1.

The two Republicans? $8,000.

It’s even worse when you look at campaign-to-date totals. Democrats: $308,000.

Republicans: $16,000. (Sen. Joe Benning $14K, Grgory Thayer $2K.)

Now, the usual caveat applies: Money is only one way to measure the strength of a campaign. There are other factors — name recognition, a strong network of grassroots support, an ideology that appeals to a significant piece of the electorate. But c’mon. You’ve got to have some money to be competitive. The Republican hopefuls just don’t.

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Big Money in the Democratic LG Race (And Other Campaign Finance Notes)

The big takeaway from the first campaign finance deadline of 2022 (for state candidates only, not federal) is that the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor is going to be a heated affair. All four candidates raised respectable amounts of money, with a couple of them clearly rising to the top.

Disclaimer: Fundraising is not the only measure of a campaign’s health. Organization and grassroots appeal are also key, but it’s very hard to measure those and very simple to read financial filings, So we look for the missing keys under the streetlight where we can see.

Leading the pack is former state Rep. Kitty Toll, widely believed to be the choice of most party regulars. She raised $118,000, which is quite a lot for this early in an LG race. She had 323 separate donors, 227 of them giving less than $100 apiece.

Coming in a sollid second is former LG David Zuckerman, with $92,000. Patricia Preston, head of the Vermont Council on World Affairs, raised $89,000 with a big fat asterisk: $23,000 of her total came from in-kind donations. That’s a very high total, and it means she has far less cash on hand than it appears at first glance. Rep. Charlie Kimbell is a distant fourth with $44,000 raised.

You want deets? We got deets.

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Molly Gray 2.0

Purposeful stroll? Check.

Pictured above is Patricia Preston, freshly-minted Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor who has a very low public profile. She’s got no track record in politics, but offers some decent credentials from the nonprofit world. She offers an unconventional resumé for a would-be politico. At 36, she’s young for a statewide candidate.

Are you starting to get serious Molly Gray vibes? Well, there’s more.

Preston is a native Vermonter who grew up on a family farm far away from the cosmopolitan (read: Not Real Vermont) precincts of Burlington. She graduated from the University of Vermont. She spent time working in the international nonprofit arena.

Her initial campaign video is practically a carbon copy of Gray’s, not that Gray’s was anything exceptional. It leans heavily on personal biography. Open and close feature Preston speaking directly to the camera; in between are images of a rural road, the family farm, aerial shots of Vermont towns, the Statehouse, a classroom, renewable energy projects, herself walking outside, herself staring into the sun. The only remotely controversial images show a solar farm and a scale model of two wind turbines, onscreen for a half second or so each.

Which brings us to her Gray-like agenda. It’s long on bromides and short on specifics. It’s full of praise for her home state and a hazy vision for how to make it even better. What does she hope to do as LG? “…help Vermont rebuild a resilient, safe, and healthy future for our families and loved ones, our communities, and this incredible state.” Yeah, that’s the stuff.

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