MONTPELIER — Nearly three years after spending more than a quarter-million dollars on his own long-shot bid for governor, Peter Shumlin, now a second-term incumbent, has used his fundraising prowess to make himself whole.
The latest campaign-finance disclosures — and the last public filings for a full year — show that Shumlin for Governor cut a $275,000 check to its namesake Jan. 3. The debt repayment, issued less than two months after Shumlin’s 20-point victory over Republican challenger Randy Brock, leaves the campaign with about $707,000 cash on hand heading into the off-election-year summer.
Shumlin has raised about $87,000 so far this cycle, most of it from out-of-state donors who gave the $2,000 per-cycle maximum in a single lump sum. His fundraising totals pale in comparison to the $187,000 he’d raised by this time during the last cycle. But his campaign’s cash position is far stronger now, owing to an easy re-election last year that had left him with a post-Election Day war chest in excess of $1 million.
With the next statewide elections still more than a year away, Shumlin said Monday that it’s far too early to begin mounting a formal campaign. But he said he’s proceeding as though he’ll be a candidate for a third term next year, in hopes that “I’m lucky enough to be running for governor.”
Shumlin’s challenger last year has raised only about $10,000 since last November, almost all of which came from the Vermont Republican Party, which had agreed to help offset some of the $300,000 in personal loans Brock invested in his run. Brock is a possible contender in 2014 as well.
After winning the most expensive race for attorney general in Vermont’s history, the campaign of incumbent Democrat Bill Sorrell has gone quiet, raising nothing so far this cycle.
Sorrell said Monday’s he undecided about whether he’ll seek a ninth term.
T.J. Donovan, Sorrell’s challenger in the hard-fought Democratic primary last summer, has also been quiet on the fundraising front, bringing in just $166 for the cycle. Donovan, whose campaign spent $500 on social media outreach in April, said he too hasn’t decided whether to mount another bid in 2014.
Democrat Beth Pearce, who last year won the race to fill the open treasurer’s seat, has raised about $6,900 since last November and spent about $7,100, most of it related to a poll conducted during the last cycle.
The conservative super PAC Vermonters First has been by far the most active political entity since last fall’s elections, dropping more than $90,000 on a series of television advertisements and statewide mailers criticizing House and Senate Democrats for the slew of new tax proposals they put forward during the last legislative session.
All but $250 of the money came from Lenore Broughton, the Burlington heiress who donated about $1 million to the super PAC in 2012.
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