GOP group spends $267,000 in two weeks to boost Scott


MONTPELIER >> The Republican Governors Association continues to spend heavily on its efforts to elect Lt. Gov. Phil Scott to Vermont's top office, campaign finance reports filed Thursday show.

The RGA super PAC, A Stronger Vermont, reported spending $267,000 in the two weeks since the last reports were filed Aug. 15, bringing its total for this election cycle to $522,675. The group, which has run TV ads for Scott, reported no new mass media buys but shelled out $157,000 to Virginia-based Pinpoint Media LLC.

On the other side, the Democrats appear to be holding their fire. The Democratic Governors Association has transferred $100,000 to its own super PAC, Our Vermont, but spent only $3,500 in the last two weeks and $11,000 for the cycle. The DGA super PAC has yet to run TV ads supporting former Transportation Secretary Sue Minter, the Democratic nominee.

As retired Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis pointed out in a tweet, there are only a handful of competitive gubernatorial contests nationwide in 2016, and both major parties appear to feel the open governor's seat in Vermont is winnable.

The next deadline for filing finance reports is Oct. 1.

Minter's campaign outraised Scott during this latest reporting period, bringing in $101,819 to Scott's $55,267. However, Scott still outspent Minter, making several media buys on his own. He spent $95,411, including $12,000 on an internal poll and several thousand on online ads.

That brings Scott's total spending for the cycle to $900,000. He has just $113,892 cash on hand.

Minter spent $67,767 in the second half of August. To date, her campaign has spent just over $1 million — a little more than half of which was on mass media buys. She has $85,842 cash on hand.

Minter picked up a number of high-profile donors from her party, including outgoing Gov. Peter Shumlin ($4,000), former Gov. Howard Dean ($2,000) and state Democratic Party Chair Dottie Deans ($500).

Minter also got $4,000 from the Vermont division of the National Education Association's fund for children and public education. The Vermont-NEA endorsed her for governor earlier this week. She also picked up $2,700 each from Jake and Donna Carpenter of Burton Snowboards.

Scott got money from a governor, but not one of Vermont's. Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott donated $4,000 to the lieutenant governor's campaign. Scott also received donations from Montpelier lobbying firm KSE Partners ($2,000), GW Plastics ($2,000), drugmaker AstraZeneca ($1,500) and the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association ($1,000).

Minter has stuck to her primary election pledge to eschew corporate donations and does not appear to have raised any money from companies.

Lieutenant governor's race

In the contest for lieutenant governor, state Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden, led Republican former state Sen. Randy Brock by a margin of a few thousand dollars during the late-August reporting period.

Coming off a competitive three-way primary, Zuckerman has more than twice as much money in his campaign coffers as Brock, who did not face a primary contest.

Zuckerman reported total contributions of $28,111 over the second half of August, which brings his total for the campaign so far to $210,075.

He spent $14,622 between Aug. 15 and Thursday, including one $870 mass media buy. The expenditure brings his total for the campaign to $167,867.

The largest contribution to Zuckerman's campaign during the reporting period was a $4,000 donation from the Vermont-NEA. He picked up the NEA's endorsement earlier in August.

Brock's campaign brought in $21,155 since Aug. 15, which brings his total so far to $103,123.

He spent $5,430 during that period.

Brock's largest donations include $4,000 from Denise Vallee, of Shelburne, and $4,000 listed as coming from R.L. Vallee Inc., Skip Vallee.

Attorney general's race

Republican Deborah Bucknam, a St. Johnsbury attorney, outspent her Democratic opponent, Chittenden County State's Attorney TJ Donovan, during the last two weeks, but Donovan, who challenged outgoing Attorney General William Sorrell in 2012, is sitting on a campaign war chest that dwarfs what Bucknam has raised.

Donovan's overall spending is also outpacing Bucknam by a ratio greater than 3-to-1.

Donovan reported raising $4,907 since Aug. 15. That puts his total for the campaign so far at $351,547. During the same period he reported spending only $2,460, bringing his campaign's total spending thus far to $112,874.

That leaves Donovan with $227,686 cash on hand.

His two largest contributions during the period were $1,000 each. One came from Bullrock Corp., the other from Vermont Realtor PAC.

Bucknam, meanwhile, reported spending $11,004, bringing her total to $32,077. She's raised $51,908 so far and has $23,431 cash on hand.

Her largest contributions this period were a pair of $250 donations from Morrisville well drilling company H.A. Manosh Corp. and Danville resident Rick Cochran.


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