Walters: In 2018 Governor's Campaign, Scott Sets the Fundraising Pace | Off Message
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Opinion
Walters: In 2018 Governor's Campaign, Scott Sets the Fundraising Pace

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 11:24 PM

click to enlarge Gov. Phil Scott - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Gov. Phil Scott
Updated March 16 at 10:33 a.m.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott raised more than $108,000 for his presumed reelection campaign over the past seven months, according to a filing Thursday with the Secretary of State's Office. His newest Democratic opponent, Christine Hallquist, collected more than $40,000 in the opening days of her campaign. Another Democrat, James Ehlers, raised $19,000 since declaring his candidacy last summer.

The governor's filing shows a steady, substantial stream of donations since Vermont's last reporting deadline, in July 2017. Hallquist, who first declared interest in the race in January, only began raising money on March 4, when her Morrisville campaign office opened its doors, according to campaign manager Cameron Russell.

Scott's fundraising was dominated by large gifts, almost entirely from Vermonters or Vermont-based businesses: $83,000 of the $108,000 he raised came in donations of $1,000 or more. Eight donors gave the individual maximum of $4,000, including retiring Barre mayor Thom Lauzon and his wife, Karen, and four members of the Pomerleau family, including the late Tony Pomerleau.

Other top Scott donors included developer Wayne Lamberton ($4,000), BioTek Instruments vice president Adam Alpert ($2,000), Vermont Radiologists ($2,000), GW Plastics ($1,000), People's United Vermont president Michael Seaver ($1,000), Sen. Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle) and wife Dorothy Mazza ($1,500), and Monsanto ($500). Scott also received and returned a $1,000 gift from the Honeywell International Political Action Committee.

The Scott campaign has spent $18,000 since last July. Top expenditures included roughly $4,200 for printing and mailing and $3,000 to 0ptimus Consulting, a Washington, D.C.-based firm. The governor's campaign fund, including a surplus from his 2016 campaign, has close to $110,000. 
  • Note: Candidates do not report itemized data for contributions of less than $100; those contributions are listed on March 12, 2018 for all candidates.
    Source: Vermont Secretary of State
  • Andrea Suozzo

Hallquist reported total receipts of slightly less than $43,000, including $2,600 worth of in-kind contributions. Nearly all of her money came in individual gifts of $1,000 or more, including a combined $8,000 from Hallquist and her wife Pat.

The Democratic campaign accepted three large corporate gifts: $2,000 from Florida-based Barrett M. Singer Co., $4,080 from Vermont Telephone Co., and $4,000 from Green Mountain Animal, a South Burlington manufacturer of, according to its website, "premium quality extruded products for dogs and cats."

Hallquist's campaign has spent about $2,600, leaving her with nearly $38,000 cash-on-hand. She told Seven Days last month that she plans to raise "over $2 million" for her campaign.

Ehlers, head of the water advocacy group Lake Champlain International, has raised only $19,000 since formally launching his campaign last July. His total is buoyed by $8,160 from Pam and Mark Floodgate of Naples, Fla. According to campaign manager Theo Fetter, Mark Floodgate is a friend and former business partner of Ehlers’.

The Democratic candidate also received $2,000 from Judith McLaughlin of Enosburg Falls. McLaughlin is a two-time candidate for state Senate; she ran as a Republican in 2010 and as an independent in 2012. Ehlers did not receive any corporate or PAC money. He has spent nearly $10,000 on his campaign, leaving him with roughly $9,000 in the bank.

A third Democrat in the race, 13-year-old Ethan Sonneborn, reported contributions totaling $633 — $94 of which came from himself or his immediate family, according to his filing.

Springfield Republican Keith Stern, who runs Stern’s Quality Produce in White River Junction, is challenging Scott from the right. The former congressional candidate reported raising a surprising total of $28,000 in in the past seven months — but $23,000 of that came in the form of loans from the candidate himself. Even so, Stern has little left in the kitty; he has already spent $27,000.

More than three-quarters of Stern's money has gone to a Piermont, N.H., media marketing firm called Many Streams, a one-person shop owned by Rebecca Bailey. Stern is her first political client, and he is paying her more than $6,200 a month.

Stern also bought an AR-15 rifle for $647.66. He is raffling it off to raise campaign cash. And if that doesn't give you an idea of his stance on gun rights, he spent $125 on stickers that read "Ammosexual."

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About The Author

John Walters

John Walters

Bio:
John Walters is the political columnist for Seven Days. He is a longtime journalist and spent many years as a news anchor and host for public radio stations in Michigan and New Hampshire. He’s the author of Roads Less Traveled: Visionary New England Lives, published by Plaidswede Press.

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