Rivals still way behind Shumlin in fundraising
By Neal P. Goswami
VERMONT PRESS BUREAU | July 16,2014
MONTPELIER — Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne has raised just over $20,000 in his quest to unseat Democrat Peter Shumlin, according to campaign finance documents filed Tuesday.
Milne, a businessman from Pomfret, announced on the last day to final as a candidate — June 12 — that he would challenge Shumlin. Since then, he has raised $20,420, his disclosure form reveals. Milne’s campaign has also taken loans totaling $355 and received $900 from either him or his immediate family. His expenditures total $600.
Milne is engaged in a Republican primary race against Emily Peyton and Steve Berry. Peyton said she received $255 in contributions to date, while campaign finance reports for Berry were not posted, suggesting he had not raised or spent more than $500.
About half the amount Milne has raised — $10,000 — appears to come from one family, the Boises, in five $2,000 donations. Just $2,000 of Milne’s cash, including $500 from his parents, is from Vermont residents.
“I think we’re on target. We’ve got a plan. We’ll run a credible, grass-roots campaign with $200,000. We’re on track with that,” Milne said Tuesday. “Right now we’re on track and we’re happy.”
Milne said he opened a campaign bank account only Friday and is beginning to put together a fundraising apparatus. A fundraising staff position will be announced soon, he said.
“I think I made three phone calls for money, and all three of those people donated. I don’t know if I’m going to be the traditional candidate that spends half of my time dialing for dollars,” Milne said. “We’re getting an organization set up. It’s going to be sort of a guerrilla-type organization.”
Shumlin, meanwhile, already had more than $1 million in his campaign coffers heading into this election season. He reported an additional $93,350 raised during this latest reporting period, bringing his total for this election to about $510,000. He has nearly $1.08 million in cash on hand.
Shumlin also reported spending $24,143 during the last three months and $65,435 for the election cycle.
Shumlin’s campaign treasurer didn’t respond to an interview request by Tuesday evening. “Today’s campaign finance filing continues to demonstrate strong support for Gov. Shumlin’s efforts to grow jobs, expand economic opportunity and strengthen Vermont’s quality of life,” said a statement released by his treasurer, Kate O’Connor.
The governor’s challenger in the Democratic primary, H. Brooke Paige, of Washington, had no filing on campaign finance by Tuesday afternoon.
Milne said he is unfazed by Shumlin’s fundraising dominance, citing the recent defeat of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, as an example where money did not prevail.
“I think we saw with Eric Cantor that money is, yes, an important part of things, but not a decider. Votes decide things,” Milne said. “People who give you $10 are engaged and a part of things. So, we’ll be happy with a $10 donation.”
Also on Tuesday, Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott reported raising $52,500 during the reporting period and $61,000 for the election cycle. He also carried over $45,276 from his last campaign and has $78,325 in cash on hand, according to his filing. He reported spending of $22,413 since March, and $28,000 total for the campaign.
After qualifying for public financing, Scott’s opponent, Progressive Dean Corren, will have $50,000 to spend on the primary and can request a further $150,000 if he advances to the general election. According to Corren’s filing, he collected more than $19,000 in small donations, enough to meet the public financing threshold.
Other statewide candidates also filed ahead of the deadline. State Auditor Doug Hoffer, a Progressive with backing by Democrats, raised $4,460 and spent $4,044 in this reporting period. Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos raised $1,277 and carried over $8,000 from his last campaign. He spent $1,855 during the reporting period and $3,155 on the campaign to date.
Democratic Treasurer Beth Pearce, meanwhile, raised $4,571 for a total of $21,561 for the election cycle. She spent $3,560 during the period, for a total of $11,819 in expenditures.
Democratic Attorney General William Sorrell raised $6,250 since March, bringing his fundraising haul for this campaign to $32,050. He carried over about $11,000 from his last campaign. Sorrell spent about $3,000 during the reporting period and $6,000 overall.
Political parties were also required to file financial disclosure forms Tuesday. The Vermont Democratic Party led the fundraising effort with $28,000 in cash in the last three months, bringing total contributions for the election cycle to $87,000. The Democrats spent $10,500 since March and have spent $82,000 overall.
The Vermont Progressive Party bested the state GOP in fundraising, taking in $13,447 during the period and total contributions of about $85,000 for the cycle. The party spent $16,358 during the reporting period and $89,366 overall.
The Vermont GOP, meanwhile, raised $7,500 this period and $61,367 for the cycle. The party spent $12,000 during the reporting period and a total of $62,523 for the cycle.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.