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August 18, 2010

Recession? Not in the World of Campaign Fundraising

Campaignfinance To read campaign finance reports detailing the millions being raised in the Vermont gubernatorial contest, you'd think the recession was a figment of your imagination.

For sure, it's a good time to be a millionaire candidate -- at least when it comes to financing your run for office.

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin continues to be his own biggest fan and contributor, donating another $75,000 to his campaign. The millionaire politician has now loaned his campaign $225,000 or nearly 40 percent of his total fundraising effort.

How'd that self-funding go for GOP candidates Rich Tarrant and Jack McMullen? Must be different for Dems, as the rest of the press corps has mentioned Shumlin's self-propelled campaign merely in passing.

Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie topped the $1 million mark by raising another $90,000 in cash (along with $2000 in in-kind contributions) in the past 30 days and spent $92,000. That leaves him with $460,000 in the bank as he, like the rest of Vermont, awaits to see which Democrat he'll face in the general election.

To date, Dubie has raised $154,556 from 1519 donors who gave in increments less than $100. In the past month, 476 such donors gave $15,948. 

In total, Dubie has raised $1,036,675 with only $4600 coming from his immediate family.

Comparatively, the five Democrats have raised a total of $1,886,313 million as of August 14. Subtract the personal money several candidates contributed, and their total lowers to $1.6 million.

Among Democrats, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz and Sen. Shumlin led the five Democratic hopefuls in fundraising during the past 30 days.

Shumlin raised roughly $95,000 in cash, loaned himself $75,000 and personally kicked in another $2000 via in-kind contributions.

To date, Shumlin has loaned his campaign a sizable amount of what he's raised in total. His $225,000 contribution is almost as much as rival Sen. Doug Racine has collected all together. In all, he's "raised" $591,000, although $244,000 has come from loans, family members and personal in-kind contributions.

Shumlin spent $321,000 in the past month and has $56,000 left in the bank. To date he's raised $28,941 from 551 people who have given less than $100. Of that amount, he raised $8189 from 161 such donors in the past 30 days.

Markowitz raised just a few thousand dollars more than Shumlin in the past 30 days, excluding in-kind contributions. If you combine both in-kind and campaign donations, Shumlin raised $5 more.

In the past month, Markowitz raised almost $97,000, spent $240,000 and has just $33,000 cash on hand. To date, she's raised $120,000 from 2294 people who have given less than $100. Of that amount, she raised $28,295 from 569 such donors in the past month.

In total, Markowitz has raised $620,000, with $24,746 coming from herself or immediate family.

Finishing a respectable third in the Democratic money chase is former state senator and current Google exec Matt Dunne raised $67,000, spent $117,000 and has $82,000 in the bank.

To date, Dunne has raised $57,696 from 972 donors who have given less than $100; he raised $13,699 from 250 such donors in the past month.

In total, Dunne has raised $337,000, with only $7100 coming from himself or his immediate family .

Sen. Doug Racine raised $50,000, surprising his challengers — many who privately believed he'd raise half that amount. What's impressive is $50,000 is roughly half of what he raised between July 2009 and July 2010. He has $45,000 cash on hand. Seems like his grassroots base is finally stepping up to the plate, which is evident in the recent report.

To date, Racine has raised $73,696 from 1170 donors who gave less than $100; he raised $20,694 from 389 such donors in the past month alone.

Since getting into the race in January 2009 Racine has raised $260,363, of which $20,632 has come from himself or immediate family.

Sen. Susan Bartlett raised only $5800 in the past month. She spent $6700 in the past 30 days, including money to pay back taxes, worker's compensation and unemployment insurance. To date, she's raised $12,187 from 281 donors who have given less than $100. Of that, she raised $2700 from 49 such donors in the past month.

Bartlett has raised $76,806 to date, of which $10,500 has come from herself and immediate family.

Notable donors

Each campaign finance report provides some interesting donors to note, be they business owners, businesses or private individuals.

Anne Galloway over at has a good list of these donors on her website, but here are few I noticed as well.

Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie: The hopeful heir apparent to Gov. Jim Douglas continues to raise cash from the GOP base in Vermont and businesses. Bill Stenger, who owns Jay Peak Resort, gave $2000, as did Vermont Telephone Company. VTel's owner, Michel Guite, already gave $2000. FW Whitcomb, a major state paving contractor, also gave $2000. Valley Vista, a private drug rehab facility in Bradford, gave $1000.

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz: The EMILY's List support continues to prove its value for Markowitz, as more mailers to the women-powered organization continue to reap benefits. Of note, is $500 from Luke Albee of Washington, DC. Albee is the former chief of staff to Sen. Patrick Leahy. He's donated $1500 to date. She also picked up $1000 from Select Designs, a brand development firm in Burlington, along with $500 from Victoria Young (see info below in Susan Bartlett's donation notes).

She also received $2000 from Tucker Management Company in Hanover, NH, and $500 from VTel founder Michel Guite. He's now maxed out to Markowitz with $2000.

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin: Aside from Shumlin's personal donation of $75,000, the southern senator was able to pull in a sizable amount from individual and corporate donors. The Teamsters DRIVE Committee gave $3000, as did the Marijuana Policy Project's Medical Marijuana political action committee. Michael and Jane Eisner (of Disney fame) each gave $1000. Rent-a-Center, based in Plano, Tx., gave Shumlin $1000.

Chittenden County Democratic Party Chair Jake Perkinson gave $1000 as did Rep. Tony Klein (D-East Montpelier). Vermont Telephone Company gave $2000. National radio personality Tom Bodett gave $500, for a total of $1000 to date, while actor William H. Macy gave $150. Bodett lives in Vermont, while Macy visits.

Sen. Doug Racine: Former Gov. Phil Hoff maxed out his donations to Racine this past month, hitting the $2000 mark. Fellow Sen. Bill Carris gave $1000, bringing their total to $2000. Fellow lawmakers such as Reps. Paul Poirer, Peter Peltz, John Moran also donated to Racine's campaign. His parents gave another $2000, upping their donations to his campaign to $6035.

Also donating $500 to Racine's campaign is Rand Larson, the former Chittenden County GOP chairman and an avid abortion opponent. Given Racine lives in Richmond, perhaps it's a neighborly donation.

Former Sen. Matt Dunne: The Google exec continued to pull in $1000 checks from his Silicon Valley / hi-tech supporters, but a few Vermont donations of note. Robert Young, the outgoing CEO of Central Vermont Public Service, gave $1000. Tom Peters, the internationally-known management consultant, gave Dunne $1000. Peters lives in Wells, Vt. Rent-a-Center, based in Plano, Tx., gave $500.

Sen. Susan Bartlett: Bartlett had no sizable donations of note in this reporting period. Though, interestingly, Victoria Young, the wife of aforementioned Robert Young, gave $500.

Could you provide us with fundraising numbers from the last 8 years, so a comparison can be made as to if more greenbacks are being raised, donated, or self funded in the last 8 years for campaigns.

I'm working on that information for a separate post, so stay tuned. I'm only looking at gubernatorial campaigns, though, not all races.

The short answer is this is likely to be the most expensive governor's race in recent memory.

In 2002, Jim Douglas, Doug Racine & Con Hogan raised a total of $2.26 million (collectively), while in 2008 Jim Douglas, Gaye Symington and Anthony Pollina raised a total of $2.03 million.

The 2000 race between Howard Dean, Ruth Dwyer and Anthony Pollina saw about $2.13 million raised, although about $228,000 was carryover from Dean's 1998 campaign.

Hope this helps for now.

Shay. Thank you for your work digging up the numbers.
Lets start a little excitement here by having readers, bloggers weigh in with their projections of next weeks Dem. Gov. primary results. The winner will be rewarded with a free edition of 7days for the next 52 weeks. Avaialble at most newstands, retail outlets etc. in many areas of Vt.
My Predictions.
Shumlin 32%.
Racine 30%.
Markowitz 22%.
Bartlett 10%
Dunne 6%
Good luck to all.
Do not forgot to really vote at the polls, or get your absentee ballot NOW.

I believe the undecided voters will play it safe and vote for someone who has already beaten Dubie.

30% Racine
25% Shumlin
22 Markowitz
18 Dunne
7 Bartlett

I'm interested in knowing where the candidates are spending their campaign money. ?? It's great that they pull in all this investment capital, but do they they boost the local economy with it? Curious -- why don't the campaign TV ads promote voting in the Primary Aug 24? There's a multi-partisan "Celebrate Democracy - VOTE!" parade leaving Battery Park on Sat. Aug. 21 at 10:30am, walking to City Hall Park, which will be open til noon for early voting. Sign-making art supplies available at the BPD Community Room at 9:30am, next to Battery Park by Bensie's Bus.

I think it's going to come down to this:

Shumlin: 33%
Markowitz: 24%
Dunne: 20%
Racine: 15%
Bartlett: 8%

I think this will be a lot closer than it would have been a few months ago, but I think Shumlin's surge is coming too late to overcome Markowitz's name recognition and the perception that she's the best candidate against Dubie.

My prediction:

Markowitz: 30%
Shumlin: 28%
Racine: 20%
Dunne: 17%
Bartlett: 5%

I'm voting for Doug Racine and I think a plurality of Democratic primary voters will also. Over his many years serving Vermonters, Doug has amassed a proven record of effectiveness, integrity and commitment to economic, environmental and social betterment. He's not flashy, but he builds consensus and gets results. That gives him a lot of political capital to draw upon--in the elections and as Governor. I don't know how the percentages will go but I think the order of finish may be:

Great article, Shay. I understand that Markowitz raised more that $620K ( a lot from out of staters) but ONLY has 33K left? How will she pay for her staff? In comparison, Racine raised $260K and has $45K left and an army of volunteers. Shumlin raised a total of $591 of which 40% came from his own checkbook.

Markowitz – 26% Name recognition/broadest base/money/field org/appeal to independents/electability/lacks substance?
Shumlin – 25% Money/great orator/fires up the left/too slick?
Dunne -22% Youngsters/intellectuals/smoke and mirrors?/scares old people?
Racine – 22% Unions/good field org/nice guy/no fire?/no money?
Bartlett – 5% Appeals to those paying a lot of attention/few are paying a lot of attention?

I have to disagree on the Racine and Markowitz issues. I think that Markowitz will come in second but when I attend debates, she is always the one that comes in last. I think that Shumlin will pull it off in the end because people like the issues he's talking about.

Shumlin will get 33-35 percent
Markowitz will get 25-27 percent
Dunne will receive 18 percent
Racine will receive 15 percent
Bartlett will receive around 7-9 percent.

Frankly, Markowitz is running a general election campaign and not focused on the primary. I feel that she hasn't taken this very seriously and she's not up to the task of taking on Dubie.

I think Shumlin came in at the right time and he peaked at the right time. I would put my money on a Shumlin victory and a hell of a general election!

Re supporting VT businesses, here is where the candidates gave $ to create websites for them. SO much for job creation in VT. This info is from VT buzz.

Dubie--- Austin, TX and Washington, D.C web design firm
Markowitz--Washington, D.C. firm
Shumlin: Vermont firm
Racine: Vermont firm
Dunne: Vermont firm
Bartlett: a friend from Vermont

Racine 31%
Shumlin 29%
Markowitz 22%
Dunne 16%
Bartlett 2%

Shumlin has run the best campaign but falls just short because of low turn out. The low turn out helps Doug with his grassroots effort and strong support in the biggest county.

Lesson learned (again) don't be the early front runner. Markowitz like so many before her are unfortunately cursed with early front runner status and almost impossible task to hold onto that lead for more than a year.

It'll be interesting to see how the August date affects turnout, which could be offset by the crowded field. I do think the candidates are all strong in different ways, so it comes down to the grass roots. Here's my prediction:


Great Articl Shay,
I supprted Racine in his run against Douglas. I campaigned for him and donated money. I was dissapointed in his lack of fire against Douglas. His lack of willingness to fight and pure passion for the Job. This year I am still struck by the lack of real , Roll up your sleeves put on the gloves and take Dubie to the woodshed for the failure of "Jim for Jobs". I see more coming from Markowitz, Shumlin and Dunne. Bartlet won't beat Dubie and I don't think Shumlin will. Markowitz might just do it. I voted for Deb, But unlike Frielich I will support the Dem in November. Two more years of the Dubie/Douglas Economic Comedy team will be a disaster for Vermont.

I think it's going to be really close. After going back and forth between Deb and Peter for the longest time, I voted for Deb, less because of the issues (I think they're all so close on this) but because I think she can beat Dubie and I don't like the idea of Peter trying to buy this election. It was also clear to me after the VPR debate that Susan is just in this race to take votes from Deb for Peter - I think others know this too. My prediction, for what it's worth (not much):

Deb: 32%
Peter: 26%
Doug: 26%
Matt: 12%
Susan: 4%

Doug, but I think it will be very close between Peter and Doug, they do great at the debates.I prefer Doug but I think Shumlin might have a chance. Dunne could pull it off, too! I agree with Bartlett/Shumlin getting chummy. I liked when Shumlin would use his question time during the radio debate to get Bartlett to make a point for him. Deb is WEAK on the issues and her initial push has fizzled out. Maybe if the election would have been a couple of months ago, but not now. Too many people see right through her now and wouldn't support her even if she won the primary.

Doug 25
Peter 25
Deb 20
Dunne 18
Bartlett 5

I think this is a four way race that's REALLY close before the undecideds break (many will stay home rather than choose, though). Seems Matt and Peter have some strong surges going on (strongly worded newspaper endorsements, word of mouth buzz, sharper messages, higher energy campaigns) and Deb and to some extent Doug are losing votes to them -- but will it be enough? A lot will depend on what happens in the "home-base" counties (Windham, Windsor, Washington, Lamoille, Chittenden), and outside those places, I know there are still a ton of undecideds, at least among the people I talk to. Predictions, for what they're worth:

Turnout: 42K (who else wants to guess total turnout?)
Dunne 27% (@ 42K, that's about 11,300 votes -- amazing that this is what it could take.)
Markowitz 26%
Shumlin 24%
Racine 20%
Bartlett 5%

I agreed with most of this analysis in the Addy Indy, obviously:

Shay, thanks for pointing out the appalling hypocrisy of the media (and of course the Dems themselves) in previously attacking Skip Vallee and Rich Tarrant for using their personal wealth to supposedly buy the elections they ran in, but saying absolutely nothing about Shumlin doing exactly the same thing.

turnout guess of 23%, will be a lot better than primaries past, but still a sad turnout.

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