Holcombe Leads Candidates in Race for Cash; Zuckerman Gaining Ground | Off Message

Holcombe Leads Candidates in Race for Cash; Zuckerman Gaining Ground


  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Rebecca Holcombe
Updated 9:52 a.m. on March 16, 2020.

Former Vermont education secretary Rebecca Holcombe leads all gubernatorial candidates in the race for cash, pulling in $378,000 since she announced her campaign for the Democratic nomination last July, according to a filing produced Sunday with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive/Democrat who announced his campaign six months after Holcombe, pulled in about $156,000 while carrying over $27,000 from his last campaign, filings showed.

The Democratic primary’s most recent entrant, meanwhile, Bennington personal injury lawyer Patrick Winburn, raised $106,000, nearly all of which consists of his own money.
Sunday night marked the first campaign finance filing deadline for state candidates since July 1, 2019. The disclosures offer an early look at the fundraising strength of those vying for Vermont’s top offices.

Holcombe's head start has given her an impressive fundraising lead over her two primary opponents. But Zuckerman and Winburn have made up ground in recent weeks — thanks to far different methods. Winburn has almost entirely self-funded his two-week-old campaign. Zuckerman, who announced in January, has received donations from 1,126 contributors.

Holcombe tallied the most contributors, with 1,210. She also led all candidates in cash on hand, carrying $129,000 into the next phase of the campaign. That's despite doling out nearly as much as what her two competitors raised combined: She has spent $249,000 over the last eight months, tallying up some hefty consulting fees along the way.

Zuckerman has spent just short of $80,000, including a pair of $15,000 payments to Dreamlike Pictures, a Burlington-based video company. He had $104,000 left in his war chest.

Winburn has spent $71,400, with $60,000 going toward television and newspaper advertisements. He had roughly $35,000 left over.

On the Republican side, Gov. Phil Scott, who remains the party’s presumptive nominee despite not yet announcing whether he will run again, has raised roughly $52,000. Nearly all of those donations have come within the last month and a half.

Scott is also carrying over $106,000 from his last campaign. He's spent $77,000 since last July, the majority of which — $64,500 — has been paid to Optimus Consulting Group, a data strategy firm from Washington, D.C. His cash-on-hand total of $95,400 trails both Holcombe's and Zuckerman's.

Scott’s only announced Republican primary challenger, Brookfield lawyer and farmer John Klar, has raised about $7,000.

Lieutenant gubernatorial candidates also filed disclosures on Sunday.

Molly Gray, a prosecutor with the Vermont Attorney General's Office running as a Democrat in her first political campaign, led the field by an impressive margin. She raised $97,000 in the seven weeks since her announcement — and spent a little over $13,000.

The race's two sitting lawmakers — Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) and Sen. Debbie Ingram (D-Chittenden) — trailed their non-legislative competitor, though neither has done much campaigning during the session.
Ashe raised $30,000, including a $5,100 contribution from his senatorial campaign fund. Ingram has largely self-funded her campaign to date, with all but $2,000 of her $21,600 total coming from her own pocket. The campaigns of both senators have spent very little so far, showing expenditures of about $200 each.

Brenda Siegel, a past Democratic gubernatorial candidate and founder of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival, raised $9,300 over the last two months, according to a filing posted Monday morning. She's spent $4,700 so far.

Meg Hansen, the only Republican in the race, has raised $22,000 — about half of which she’s contributed herself. She’s spent $15,000 of that, including paying a little over $10,000 to McShane, a political consulting company in Las Vegas.

The next filing deadline is July 1, 2020. Candidates are now confronted with the unprecedented challenge of trying to reach voters and donors amid the coronavirus crisis. Many have already announced that they are suspending in-person events.