As Fundraising Falters, Milne Loans Campaign $25,000 | Off Message

As Fundraising Falters, Milne Loans Campaign $25,000


Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Milne, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and former governor Jim Douglas at Milne's campaign kickoff last month. - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Milne, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and former governor Jim Douglas at Milne's campaign kickoff last month.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Milne picked up more than $35,300 in campaign contributions in the past 15 days — but only $2,200 of it came from people whose last name isn't "Milne."

When he first entered the race earlier this year, Milne told Seven Days he would not finance his own campaign. But according to his latest filing with the secretary of state's office, the Pomfret businessman loaned his campaign $25,000 on August 29. He also took contributions from two businesses he co-owns — Milne Travel and B&M Realty — and four relatives, totaling $7,350.

Only two other people contributed to Milne's campaign in the two-week period ending Tuesday.

Milne, who secured the GOP nomination last Tuesday, clearly needed the cash. He spent more than $33,400 last month, more than half of which went to television advertisements. Milne paid WCAX-TV, WPTZ-TV, FOX 44 and ABC 22 nearly $19,000 for pre-primary campaign ads. 

Reached Tuesday evening, Milne seemed unsure of how much he contributed to his own campaign.

"I thought it was 20. Was it 25?" he said, of the loan. "Oh, wow. Yeah."

Asked why he changed his tune about bankrolling his own campaign, Milne said, "I thought I said I wasn't going to fund my campaign." Lending himself money, he said, "is a little different from self-funding."

Nevertheless, Milne acknowledged that he may not be able to pay himself back.

"I would clearly hope we're going to get some momentum going," he said. "It's not going to be the end of the world if I don't, but that's my plan."

To date, Milne has raised just $53,000 for his campaign, not including the loan. Of that, $20,000 has come from family and associates of David Boies III, a longtime friend and business partner

Milne said he hoped a fundraising letter penned by former lieutenant governor Brian Dubie, Shumlin's 2010 Republican opponent, would help fill the campaign coffers, but he claimed he's not overly focused on the race for cash.

"I'm not spending a whole lot of my time calling people and asking them for money," he said. 

Milne's opponent, Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, clearly is. The incumbent raised $34,700 in the past two weeks for his reelection campaign, bringing his total this cycle to $611,900. Counting money leftover from his last race, Shumlin has $1.16 million in the bank. Milne has just $16,700 to spend.

Among Shumlin's top donors this period were the Marijuana Policy Project ($3,000); Keurig Green Mountain founder Robert Stiller and his wife, Christine ($4,000); major Democratic donors Bill Stetson ($2,000) and Crea and Phillip Linthilhac ($2,000); Verizon ($1,000) and Walgreens ($500).

Shumlin's campaign spent just $767.26 during the reporting period.

Collecting more than either gubernatorial candidate was Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, who's facing off against Progressive/Democrat Dean Corren, a former House member from Burlington.

Scott raised an impressive $48,600 in the past two weeks, bringing his total this cycle to $162,000. He has $114,200 in the bank.

As usual, Scott raised the bulk of that from the construction industry (Scott is a co-owner of DuBois Construction), lobbyists and prominent Republicans.

His corporate donors included John Deere ($3,000), Green Mountain Paving and Sealcoating ($2,000) and Connor Contracting ($2,000). Lobbyist contributors included the firms KSE Partners ($1,000) and Diamond & Robinson ($300), as well as KSE's Scott Mackey ($200), and Downs Rachlin Martin's Joe Choquette ($250) and John Hollar ($250). Among the prominent Republicans who ponied up were former governor Jim Douglas ($500); Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon and his wife, Karen ($3,000); and Campaign for Vermont founder Bruce Lisman ($1,000). 

The Washington, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee also contributed $6,000 to Scott's campaign.

Scott spent most of the money he raised in the past two weeks on what appears to be a forthcoming advertising campaign. Of the $54,700 he dropped in that time, $50,000 went to Williston's Hen House Media, which produces TV ads.

Corren, who qualified for up to $200,000 in public financing in June, is barred from raising any more money. This period he spent $12,100. He has $170,800 in the bank.

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