Christine Hallquist's victory in the August 14 Democratic gubernatorial primary brought a flood of national — and global — attention to her candidacy. That night, she became the first openly transgender candidate to win a major party's nomination for governor. The resultant publicity is making the money flow as never before.
September 1 marked another campaign finance reporting deadline for Vermont candidates. Between August 15 and September 1, a little more than two weeks' time, Hallquist raised more than $71,000. That's nearly half her total for the preceding five months of campaigning. And a Friday campaign press release boasted that Hallquist had received at least one donation from every state in the union.
It was a welcome boost, since she exited the primary with essentially no money in the bank. Even so, she spent almost as much in late August as she raised, and enters September with roughly $14,000 in cash on hand.
Her opponent, Gov. Phil Scott, continued to fundraise at a rather leisurely pace. His total for the second half of August was $41,000 — and he spent a bit more than that. He has about $50,000 in cash on hand, plus another $18,000 left over from his 2016 campaign.
Hallquist pulled in many more small donations than Scott, and that's reflected in the total number of contributors to each campaign. In the second half of August, Hallquist received donations from 838 separate individuals. Scott's total: 101.
The Democratic candidate received only a handful of large contributions. The Trans United Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that promotes "the political power of trans and gender expansive communities," gave Hallquist $4,080. Berlin residents John and Kristen Friedrich donated a total of $8,000. Lorene and Ellen Vaut of South Burlington gave a total of $7,000 between the two of them. No other donor gave more than $1,000.
Scott's biggest donations in the late-August reporting period included $4,080 from Barre granite company Buttura & Sons; $4,000 from drug maker Pfizer; $4,000 from Glen Wright, a retired financial services executive; $2,500 from the Entertainment Software Association, an industry lobbying outfit; $2,000 from the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England; and $2,000 from Sunovion, a Massachusetts pharmaceutical firm.
In the other hotly contested campaign for statewide office, House Minority Leader Don Turner (R-Milton) continues to hold a financial edge on incumbent Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman. Turner's September 1 report shows $23,000 in donations since August 15, while Zuckerman received $17,000. As usual, Turner's donors were fewer but had more cash to give.
During the 16 days leading to September 1, a total of 184 individuals donated to Zuckerman; that brings his campaign total to 768. For Turner, those numbers are 92 and 263, respectively.
Turner has the edge in cash on hand, but not overwhelmingly so. He enters September with $95,000 in the bank; Zuckerman has $39,000, plus another $12,000 in surplus from his 2016 campaign.
The Republicans' other candidates for statewide office are starting from scratch. Rick Morton (treasurer), Rick Kenyon (auditor) and Rep. Janssen Willhoit (R-St. Johnsbury)(attorney general) were chosen at a Wednesday night meeting of the party's state committee, and did not submit campaign finance reports. H. Brooke Paige, the Republican candidate for secretary of state, has a long history of running low-budget or no-budget campaigns; he also did not file a September 1 report.
Among the incumbents, only Attorney General T.J. Donovan has put any noticeable effort into fundraising; his September 1 filing reported $23,000 in new donations and a campaign total of $101,000. (Donovan also has $128,000 in surplus from his 2016 campaign.) By contrast, Treasurer Beth Pearce has raised a total of $11,000 for her entire campaign and Secretary of State Jim Condos has raised a total of $3,000. Auditor Doug Hoffer didn't submit a report for September 1, which may mean he didn't raise or spend much at all. He'd only raised $2,400 for his entire campaign as of mid-August.