Gray Outpaces Balint in Early Fundraising for U.S. House Race | Off Message

Gray Outpaces Balint in Early Fundraising for U.S. House Race


From left: Sen. Becca Balint, Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • From left: Sen. Becca Balint, Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray
In the first month of her campaign for U.S. House, Lt. Gov. Molly Gray raised about $318,000 — some $118,000 more than Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Windham), who entered the contest a week after Gray.

The figures were disclosed in campaign finance reports the two filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday, the deadline for candidates to detail the money they raised and spent during the last quarter of 2021.

Gray launched her campaign on December 6 while Balint followed suit on December 13. A third Democrat, Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden), joined the race on January 13; her first campaign finance disclosure will be due April 15, after the first quarter of 2022.

While Gray raised more than Balint, she also spent nearly $70,000, leaving her campaign with about $248,500 cash on hand. Among Gray's bigger donors were renewable-energy developer David Blittersdorf ($2,900); Burton owner Donna Carpenter ($5,800); former governor Howard Dean ($2,900); Burlington real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau ($5,000);  Hula owner Russ Scully ($2,900) and its CEO, Rob Lair ($2,900); former Sugarbush Resort owner Win Smith ($2,000); New York City TV and film producer Mark Gordon ($2,900); Norwich Democratic donors Jane and Bill Stetson ($2,900 each); Twincraft Skincare owner Peter Asch ($2,900); and Massachusetts-based Democratic donors Nancy and Rein Beeuwkes, who each gave $5,800.
A political action committee called The Next 50 gave Gray $5,000, the records show.

Balint hauled in about $200,700 and spent $10,400, leaving her campaign with about $190,300 on hand. Among her donors were philanthropists Crea and Philip Lintilhac, who each gave $500; actress Jane Lynch ($1,000); farmer Rachel Nevitt ($2,500), who is the wife of former lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate David Zuckerman; retired Vermont Supreme Court justice Marilyn Skoglund ($1,000);  political operative Stuart Stevens ($1,000) and his partner, Lisa Senecal ($500), a cochair of the Vermont Commission on Women; and Jeb Spaulding, the former chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges System.
Balint also received $5,000 from Equality PAC, described as the political arm of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus.

While Ram Hinsdale did not file disclosures, her campaign did say it raised about $200,000 in the first 36 hours after launching earlier this month. That's more than Balint, who said she raised $125,000 in her first day, and Gray, who hauled in $50,000 during that same time period.
"The flood of contributions that's come in such a short period of time is unprecedented, and we're extremely happy with the support we have," a Ram Hinsdale spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

Ericka Redic, a Republican from Burlington, has also filed to run. She submitted her paperwork on January 17, and did not have to file a financial disclosure.

Party primaries are scheduled for August 9. And if any of the four candidates win November's general election, she'll make history: Vermont has never elected a woman to serve in Congress.