Ram Hinsdale, Balint Outpace Gray in First Quarter Fundraising for House Race | Politics | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Ram Hinsdale, Balint Outpace Gray in First Quarter Fundraising for House Race


Published April 16, 2022 at 10:41 p.m.
Updated May 3, 2022 at 2:43 p.m.

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
Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden) outpaced rival Democratic candidates for Vermont's lone U.S. House seat by raising $440,000 during the most recent quarter, campaign finance filings show.

Ram Hinsdale raised a large chunk of that total — more than $200,000 — in the first 36 hours after she launched her run on January 13, her campaign said at the time. The first quarter started on January 1 and ended on March 31.

Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Windham) had the next biggest quarterly haul, with $368,380, while Lt. Gov. Molly Gray took home $309,700. Newcomer Sianay Chase Clifford raised just $7,350, but she only announced in mid-March, two weeks before the quarter ended.
For the first time since 2006, there’s no incumbent running for the seat and, ahead of the August 9 primary, the race could get more expensive — and heated. These four Dems are vying to become the first woman Vermont elects to serve in Washington, D.C., and shared the screen earlier this week during a virtual candidate forum hosted by VTDigger.org. During the event, each candidate had impressive moments as they sought to differentiate themselves in the crowded field.

All but Chase Clifford have roles in the state legislature, which is in session until sometime in late May. After that, campaigning will likely begin in earnest.
Sianay Chase Clifford - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Sianay Chase Clifford
Balint, who declared for the race on December 13, raised substantially more during the first quarter than she did in December, for a total of $569,000. She ended the quarter with about $432,600 cash on hand, the most of any candidate.
Gray raised $318,230 in the three-plus weeks after she declared for the race on December 6. But her fundraising slowed from January through the end of March, when she brought in $309,700. Overall, though, she’s raised the most of any candidate, with nearly $628,000. She now has about $404,370 cash on hand.

The lone Republican candidate, Ericka Redic of Burlington, raised about $2,830 and spent most of it, leaving her with $430 cash on hand.

Each of the Democratic candidates have said they won’t accept corporate political action committee money, though some took money from special interest PACs.

Among Ram Hinsdale’s most notable donors are Briar Alpert, the CEO of Winooski-based BioTek ($1,500);  entrepreneur and spirits baron Raj Bhakta and his wife, Danhee, who each gave the max amount allowed ($5,800); Burlington developer Eric Farrell ($2,900); attorney Faisal Gill, the former chair of the Vermont Democratic Party who now lives in California ($2,900); Jen Kimmich, cofounder and CEO of Alchemist Brewing ($1,000); former Barre mayor and developer Thom Lauzon ($3,420) and his wife, Karen, a former candidate for state representative ($2,900); and Paul Ralston, founder of the Vermont Coffee Company and a former rep in the Vermont House ($2,900).
Among Gray’s top donors were Ed Pagano, a Washington, D.C., attorney who serves on the University of Vermont board of directors ($2,900); retired Burlington businessman Pat Robins ($3,000); Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who played “the most interesting man in the world” ($125); Sascha Mayer, cofounder and CEO of Mamava ($300); Sugarbush president and COO John Hammond ($200); John Podesta, who served as president Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and in the Obama administration ($500); Sherman Patrick ($300), an aide to U.S. Sen Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.); Burlington developer Ernie Pomerleau ($5,800); Luke Albee, a former Leahy aide turned D.C. lobbyist ($1,250); Gary Davis, CEO of Connecticut hedge fund firm DKR Capital Partners ($5,800); Peter Galbraith, a former state senator and U.S. ambassador ($2,900); and David Rockefeller, a businessman and philanthropist ($5,800).
Balint’s donor list included Jessica Brumstead, a state rep whose husband is UVM Health Network president and CEO John Brumsted ($2,900); Christine Dunbar, an executive at GlobalFoundries ($1,750); Lisa Groeneveld, co-owner and cofounder of OnLogic ($2,000); Patrick Kennedy, a former U.S. rep for Rhode Island who advocates for mental health and addiction care ($2,600); Kimmich, the cofounder and CEO of Alchemist Brewing who gave the same amount ($1,000) to Ram Hinsdale; and philanthropist Crea Lintilhac ($2,750) and her husband, Philip ($1,000).
In the U.S. Senate race, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) raised nearly $842,000 during the first quarter and, with money from previous House campaigns, now has a $2.9 million war chest. That’s many times more than his only declared Democratic rival, emergency room physician Alexandra Nicole Thran, who pulled in just $3,600 and has about $6,000 cash on hand.

Republican Christina Nolan, a former U.S. attorney for Vermont who entered the race in late February, hauled in nearly $157,000 and spent about $55,000, leaving her with $101,500 in her campaign account. Another candidate, crypto industry exec and former child actor Brock Pierce, an independent, raised $411,000 but spent nearly $340,000, leaving him with $113,000.