Minter Outraises Scott, But RGA Outspends Both Combined | Off Message

Minter Outraises Scott, But RGA Outspends Both Combined


Sue Minter and Phil Scott - FILE: JAMES BUCK AND MOLLY WALSH
  • File: James Buck And Molly Walsh
  • Sue Minter and Phil Scott
An earlier version of this story was originally published October 1, 2016, at 2:11 p.m.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter last month continued to outraise Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, according to new disclosures filed with the Secretary of State’s Office, but a GOP super PAC more than made up the difference.

Minter, a former state transportation secretary, raised $374,000 in September — nearly $50,000 of which came in the form of in-kind contributions from the Vermont Democratic Party. Scott, a construction executive, collected $226,000 in that period. Throughout the race, Minter has raised $1.5 million, while Scott has raised $1.2 million.

But in the past two months, a super PAC financed by the Republican Governors Association has spent more than $1.2 million on Scott’s behalf, while a similar group bankrolled by the Democratic Governors Association spent just $381,000 for Minter.

The GOP organization, called A Stronger Vermont, spent $700,000 in September alone. Most of that went toward television advertising, though some went to direct mail, online ads and polling. Until last week, the super PAC’s ads were largely positive and focused on Scott’s philosophy and record. Last Wednesday, it launched a new series of negative ads tying Minter to the unpopular retiring governor, Peter Shumlin.

The Democratic super PAC, called Our Vermont, kept its powder dry until the second week of September, when it started to run contrast spots promoting Minter and criticizing Scott. It spent just $370,000 last month — on TV ads, polling, research and consulting.

Outside spending eclipsed traditional campaign spending in September. Minter spent about $209,000 in that period, three-quarters of which went to television advertisements and other mass media. Scott spent roughly the same — $212,000 — but only 40 percent of that went to mass media. He has yet to run any television advertising in the general election.

Minter has a cash advantage going into the final five weeks of the race. Her campaign says she has more than $200,000 in the bank, while Scott’s says he has $128,000.

Retired Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee, the Liberty Union nominee, did not file a disclosure report for September. Only candidates who raise or spend $500 or more are required to do so.

In a show of strength for Minter, the Democratic nominee raised money from a far broader base of donors than her Republican counterpart. Since she joined the contest last fall, Minter has received 4,825 individual contributions — 3,438 of which were worth $100 or less. Scott has accepted 2,818 donations — 1,992 of which were worth $100 or less.

The GOP nominee, however, has taken a greater share of his campaign cash from in-state donors. While roughly 90 percent of his contributions came from Vermont businesses and individuals, only 58 percent of Minter’s did.

Scott, the only gubernatorial candidate who accepts direct donations from corporations, took money last month from Walgreens ($1,000), tobacco giant Altria Client Services ($1,000), Anheuser-Busch ($1,000), payday lender Advance America ($1,000), Monsanto ($500), Vermont Federal Credit Union ($1,000), AT&T ($1,000) and Delta Dental ($1,000). He also accepted money from business trade groups, including the Vermont Chamber of Commerce ($2,000), Associated General Contractors ($2,000) and Vermont Association of Chain Drug Stores ($500).

Scott’s individual contributors included former governor Jim Douglas ($1,000), former gubernatorial candidate and Take Back Vermont leader Ruth Dwyer ($1,000), former Senate candidate Rich Tarrant ($1,000), Democratic Sen. Bobby Starr ($50), Ethan Allen Institute founder John McClaughry ($200), Radio Vermont Group president Ken Squier ($500) and Montpelier lobbyists Heidi Tringe ($500), Margaret Laggis ($250) and Chuck Storrow ($250).

For her part, Minter accepted contributions from a number of advocacy groups, trade unions, political organizations and credit unions. They included the Marijuana Policy Project ($4,000), Vermont State Employees’ Association ($4,000), Gun Sense Vermont ($2,500), Democracy for America ($2,500), Patient Choices Vermont ($1,000), the UA plumbers and pipefitters union’s national PAC ($1,000), UA Local 693 ($4,000) and the Vermont Federal Credit Union ($1,000).

Minter also received donations from campaign committees and PACs run by Sen. Patrick Leahy ($4,000), Congressman Peter Welch ($4,000), Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger ($500) and Rep. Kesha Ram ($500).

Her individual donors included actress Jane Fonda ($2,700), actor Danny DeVito ($2,700), Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler ($2,000), former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis ($250) and former Democratic gubernatorial rival Peter Galbraith ($200).

Corrected October 3, 2016, at 2:17 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the Vermont State Employees Credit Union as having donated to one of the gubernatorial campaigns. According to VSECU spokesperson Rebecca Kelley, the confusion stemmed from a credit union member contributing to the campaign with a cashier’s check. VSECU does not donate to political campaigns, Kelley said.