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March 16, 2012

In Race's Final Days, Burlington Mayoral Candidates Poured on the Cash

Burlington-mayor-raceIn the closing days of the most expensive mayor’s race in Burlington’s history, two of the candidates — and one political party — continued to pour cash into their campaigns.

According to filings due Friday, Democrat Miro Weinberger, who won by 20 percent, raised $16,469 and spent $25,050 in the last week and a half of the race. The Vermont Democratic Party spent another $8,631 on his behalf during that period.

In total, Weinberger and his party raised $143,940 and spent $140,118 on the campaign, dwarfing all previous records. Close to $50,000 of that was spent on a heated four-way race for the Democratic nomination last fall.

Republican Kurt Wright also continued to raise and spend in the closing days of the race. He took in $11,694 and spent $18,074 in the same period. In total, he raised $60,358 and spent $58,261 on the campaign. Wright received no help from the state GOP and ran uncontested for his party’s nomination.

Independent Wanda Hines raised and spent just $2,930. Though she came in a distant third, Hines certainly got the best bang for her buck. She spent just $5.80 per vote, while Wright spent $15.55 and Weinberger spent $24.15 per vote.

Most voters, one might imagine, would have preferred a check in the mail.

Given that candidates don’t have to report what they raised or spent in the campaign’s final days until after voters head to the polls, post-election filings tend to include a few goodies. This batch is no exception.

The Vermont Dems paid Alabama-based Anzalone Research $2,500 to conduct a last-minute poll. The party also paid Texas-based AMM Political Strategies $2,097 for paid ID calls — meaning the company called Burlington residents to determine which voters they should concentrate on turning out on election day.

Weinberger’s campaign paid Burlington-based HearForward $3,000 for social media consulting and another $5,017 to buy the campaign’s Facebook advertisements. It also spent $1,255 on more traditional radio ads.

Interestingly, conservative boogeyman Bruce Lisman — whose Campaign for Vermont outfit saturates the airwaves with commercials not quite in line with Weinberger’s “fresh start agenda” — cut the Democrat a $250 check. But don’t worry; he also maxed out to the Wright campaign with a $1,000 check.

For his part, Wright pulled in a few more top-dollar contributions from the Pomerleau real estate clan. In total, the family gave him $4,000. Barre Mayor Tom Lauzon and his wife, Karen, also ponied up $1,000 each to the Wright campaign a week before election day.

The only candidate to go up on television, Wright spent $1,495 to produce an ad and $3,167 to air it on WCAX-TV. He spent $5,138 on a final mailer and paid Florida-based Political Marketing International $413 for robo-calls.

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