MONTPELIER -- Gov. Peter Shumlin reported Monday that he had passed the million-dollar mark in campaign fundraising, and had raised more than two-and-a-half times as much as his Republican rival in the last month.
Campaign finance reports show the incumbent Democrat had amassed just over $1 million in his re-election bid, including $25,000 left over from the 2010 campaign for his first two-year term, and $1,700 in non-monetary contributions. Shumlin’s campaign said he has most of the money he’s raised -- $883,000 -- still on hand.
Republican state Sen. Randy Brock reported having raised about $409,000 toward his campaign, including a $300,000 loan to the campaign from his own funds. In the past month, he raised about $62,000 -- to $160,000 for Shumlin.
While Shumlin holds a big fundraising lead over his challenger, Republicans are well ahead in another form of campaign finance, the reports showed. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 launched a new era in political money in which independent groups can raise unlimited amounts from donors and use the money to try to sway elections -- so long as they do not coordinate their efforts with candidates’ campaigns.
Two newly created political action committees -- or PACS -- are trying to perform on the Vermont stage in the manner allowed by Citizens United. The Republican-leaning Vermonters First reported raising $100,000 from just
Meanwhile, a liberal leaning group called Priorities PAC had raised $10,000 from just one donor -- Lisa Steele of Shelburne.
Both donations were well in excess of the $2,000 limit that had been set for political contributions in Vermont law. But Attorney General William Sorrell’s office issued an advisory this summer that in light of the Citizens United ruling and a related decision from the U.S. District Court in Burlington, no such limit could be imposed on PACs operating independently of campaigns.
Vermonters First has been running ads supporting the election of the Republican candidates for state auditor, Vince Illuzzi, and treasurer, Wendy Wilton. But because those are expenditures by an independent PAC, they were not reflected in campaign finance filings by Illuzzi and Wilton on Monday.
In the race for treasurer, incumbent Beth Pearce, appointed by Shumlin 20 months ago after he picked then-Treasurer Jeb Spaulding to a top job in the governor’s administration, had raised nearly $133,000 so far in the campaign, versus a bit more than $50,000 for Wilton, the Rutland city treasurer.
In the campaign for auditor, Illuzzi had a large lead over Democrat Doug Hoffer, with the Republican raising nearly $64,000 campaign-to-date, to nearly $33,000 for Hoffer.
Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott had a better than 3-to-1 fundraising lead over challenger Cassandra Gekas. Scott had raised more than $96,000 so far in the campaign, versus about $27,000 for Gekas.
Attorney General William Sorrell, the incumbent Democrat, reported having raised more than $129,000 so far in the campaign, versus about $34,000 for Republican challenger Jack McMullen.