Gov. Phil Scott (right) and Republican challenger Keith Stern
A conservative political action committee supporting Republican Gov. Phil Scott doubled its spending on Vermont’s gubernatorial race in the first week of August, according to filings with the Secretary of State’s Office.
The super PAC, named A Stronger Vermont and funded by the Republican Governors Association, has spent $216,361 supporting Scott ahead of the August 14 primary.
Republican grocer Keith Stern is running against Scott for the party’s nomination, and the RGA spending days ahead of that vote suggests the national group is concerned that Scott is vulnerable. An RGA spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
In a filing Tuesday, A Stronger Vermont reported paying $115,540, including $91,000 for TV ads and an additional $8,000 for Facebook ads on August 6.
The RGA commercials are among the first in Vermont this campaign season.
The RGA, which launched its ad blitz with $100,000 on July 31 and more than doubled that spending a week later, has already put more money into the race for governor than any candidate had raised as of last month.
Campaign reports from July 15 show that Scott had raised $213,700 for this year’s campaign. Democratic challenger Christine Hallquist had raised $132,339, and no other candidate had received more than $60,000.
So far, no other super PACs are running ad campaigns in Vermont’s 2018 election.
This isn't the first time outside groups have bought ads in a Vermont gubernatorial contest. By the end of the 2016 general election, the same Republican PAC had spent more than $2.9 million supporting Scott. Our Vermont, a super PAC run by the Democratic Governors Association, spent upward of $1.3 million backing Democratic nominee Sue Minter in that race.