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August 16, 2012

Shumlin Widens Fundraising Gap, While Brock Widens Fund-Spending Gap

ShumlinThe news coming out of Wednesday's monthly campaign finance filing deadline is hardly news at all: Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin continues to raise money, while his challenger, Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin), continues to spend it.

In the 30 days since they last reported fundraising numbers, Shumlin took in $160,293 to Brock's $55,329. But in that same period, the incumbent Democrat spent just $16,041 to his Republican challenger's $65,516, widening the already yawning gap between the two candidates' campaign reserves.

With Shumlin now having outraised Brock $839,805 to $584,924 — and that includes a $300,000 loan Brock gave himself — the governor's cash-on-hand advantage moving into the last two-and-a-half months of the race is $769,027 to Brock's $237,139.

So how've they been raising and spending it?

  • Shumlin raised eyebrows a week-and-a-half ago when the executive director of NORML, a marijuana legalization interest group, told the Burlington Free Press that the gov called up asking for campaign cash in return for his becoming a national spokesman for the marijuana reform movement. When Seven Days asked Shumlin on Tuesday how frequently he calls political action committees (PACs) asking for money, he said, "I couldn't answer that because I'm sure I've called many," adding that he often squeezes them in while on the road — and doesn't really enjoy making the calls.
  • But if Wednesday's filing is any indication, those calls have been going well. Shumlin raised $50,600 from an assortment of PACs and businesses last month — nearly a third of his total haul this period. Among the most generous? The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' PAC ponied up $6000, as did the International Brotherhood of Teamsters' PAC. The Marijuana Policy Project, which is not related to NORML, gave $2000 directly and another $1500 from its PAC (its PAC has now given a total of $6000 to the gov).
  • What other PACs and companies gave Shumlin $2000 last month? AT&T Services, the Beverage Association of Vermont, Caesars Entertainment (yeah, the casino guys), Enterprise Holdings (yep, the rental car guys), Federal Express, Green Mountain Associates, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Hewlett-Packard, Jay Peak (owner Bill Stenger and his wife, Mary Jane Stenger, each gave an additional $2000), LeChase Construction, the National Beer Wholesalers Association, Omya, P&R Associates, Revision Military and Walgreens.
  • BrockFor his part, Brock took in barely anything from such entities. He received $160 from MDF Enterprises and $500 from Northeast Delta Dental. Brock did, however, pull in some contributions from Vermont GOP bigwigs: Former House Speaker Walter Freed gave $125 last month ($825 total), attorney general candidate Jack McMullen gave $500, former Douglas administration hand Charlie Smith gave $500 from his 2010 state senate campaign account, former lite gov and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie gave $500. Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon, who had previously hinted he might endorse Shumlin, apparently changed his mind; he and his wife, Karen, gave a total of $4000 to Brock's campaign. Meanwhile, Fred Malek — a national GOP fundraiser, former Nixon and George H.W. Bush administration official and Sarah Palin's BFF — gave another $1000 to Brock, bringing his total to $2000.
  • On the spending side of the equation, Shumlin continued to scrimp and save. Of the $16,041 he spent, the bulk of it went to software vendors ($3686), a mailing ($2449) and finance director Erika Wolffing's salary ($4227). Of course, it ain't hard to save on the campaign side when your state government staff can keep you in the public eye and your political party can staff-up and open campaign offices around the state.
  • As for Brock, he continued to spend heavily on campaign consultants. He paid $16,000 to Vermont campaign consultant Darcie Johnston; $14,737 to San Francisco-based consultants Dresner, Wickers, Barbar and Sanders; $11,134 to Ohio-based SCM Associates for "telephone calling"; and $7342 to the Indiana-based Prosper Group Corporation for online work.

Stay tuned. Later this week we'll take a dive into the other statewide candidates' campaign finance filings.

Peter Shumlin photo by Andy Bromage. Randy Brock by Paul Heintz

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