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February 27, 2012

Weinberger Shatters Burlington Mayoral Fundraising Record [Updated]

This post has been updated to add charts.

There’s still a week to go in the Burlington mayoral race, and Democrat Miro Weinberger has already shattered previous fundraising records.

Since the start of the campaign last September, Weinberger has raised more than $118,000 and spent just shy of $100,000. That blows away the previous fundraising record set in 2006 when Democratic nominee Hinda Miller raised $60,000 in her unsuccessful race for mayor.

Mayor graphicNearly half of Weinberger’s expenditures were doled out during a heated, four-way race for the Democratic nomination last fall. In the general election, he has spent just more than $51,000.

That figure is closer to the $40,000 his Republican rival, Kurt Wright, has spent, out of $48,000 raised. Wright did not face a primary opponent. Wanda Hines, an independent, raised just $2260 and spent $767. 

Here are the fundraising and spending totals in chart form. To provide for a more accurate comparison, the lighter green shade next to Weinberger's name represents just how much he spent after the Democratic caucuses.

The Vermont Democratic Party contributed nearly $6500 in in-kind contributions to Weinberger’s campaign, most of which came in the form of printing expenses, use of the party’s voter file and office space. The Vermont GOP did not invest in the Wright campaign.

Weinberger’s haul is just shy of the combined amount raised by all five candidates for mayor in 2009. That year, Progressive incumbent Bob Kiss won reelection spending just $20,000. Wright, who also ran that year, spent $34,000 on the race.

Contributions to both Weinberger and Wright included some big-dollar donors. Twenty-two individuals and companies donated the $1000 maximum to Weinberger’s campaign, while 20 did the same for Wright. Weinberger’s parents, who are allowed to donate more, contributed a total of $3500, while Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) political action committee gave the Democrat $3000.

In total, 690 people, businesses and campaign committees donated to Weinberger’s campaign, while 215 gave to Wright and 30 gave to Hines. Twenty-six percent of the money Weinberger raised came from those giving less than $100, while 20 percent of Wright’s cash and 53 percent of Hines’ did.

Wright raised $7400 from companies like Barrett Trucking, Lake Champlain Transportation, the Sporn Company and Myers Container Service Corporation. Weinberger raised $2250 from companies like Main Street Landing, the Allen Agency Real Estate and August First.

Of the $79,000 Weinberger raised from those who gave more than $100 each, $24,800 of it came from out of state. Only those who donate at least that much have to identify themselves and where they live. Wright, on the other hand, collected a single out-of-state check: $127.43 from Matt Gardi, who lives in Key West but hails from Vermont.

Wright’s campaign has previously criticized Weinberger for holding a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., and for raising money out of state. Monday night, John Ewing, who co-chairs Wright’s campaign, again pounced on the non-Vermont contributions.

“Kurt’s campaign is basically a grassroots, local campaign looking to local donors, and the money he has raised has come largely from Burlington and certainly from Chittenden County,” Ewing said. “[Weinberger’s] contributions are some very large checks coming from out of state.”

In a statement, Weinberger spokesman Mike Kanarick said he was “surprised to hear” the Wright campaign’s reaction, given the Republican’s long history of fundraising.

“What’s shocking is hearing Kurt be critical of fundraising in Burlington while voting against campaign finance reform in Montpelier,” he said. “Once again, Kurt continues his pattern of saying one thing in Burlington and working against the best interests of Burlingtonians while he’s down the road in Montpelier when he believes no one is watching.”

Since the start of the race, the Weinberger campaign has spent close to $6000 on Facebook advertisements and $8000 on radio advertisements. It spent $1500 designing yard signs and $6200 printing them. Its biggest expenditure was payroll and taxes, which accounted for just more than $39,000 of his budget. He also, apparently, spent $53.45 on a music stand.

Wright’s campaign, meanwhile, spent $1700 on 15 VoIP phones and related expenses, $1600 on photography and $4000 on yard signs. It spent $3000 on advertisements in the North Avenue News and another $3000 on radio spots. Wright spent just $2500 on payroll. Notably, the campaign bought three boxes of beads to be tossed from its Mardi Gras parade float.

Hines’ campaign spent $161.57 on yard signs, $145.52 on fliers, and paid marketing consultant Jodi Harrington $450.

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