MONTPELIER — Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is closing the money gap between himself and his Progressive challenger, Dean Corren, who has secured $200,000 in public funding for the campaign.
Scott, who is seeking a third term, filed a campaign finance disclosure form Monday showing $52,380 in total contributions in the past month. That brings his total cash contributions in this election cycle to more than $113,000. He spent over $10,000 in the past month and nearly $40,000 during the cycle.
“Our target has been to raise $200,000 throughout the campaign and $50,000 per month, so we’re right on target,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to raise the money to campaign. I’m taking this seriously due to my opponent’s raising money with public financing through taxpayer dollars.”
A lot of Scott’s monthly haul came from a single event hosted by Democratic Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle, that attracted numerous Democrats.
“The Sen. Mazza event in Colchester was a major part of this past month’s contributions. It exceeded all of our wildest imaginations in terms of those who attended and those who contributed,” Scott said.
Scott will need to continue raising money if he is to match Corren. The Progressive has $50,000 at his disposal for the primary stage and $150,000 for the general election. That means Corren will have more money than any of Scott’s previous challengers.
Corren is also seeking write-in votes in an effort to secure the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. The Democratic nod could help boost Corren’s efforts in the general election against Scott, who has won the endorsement of several high-profile Democratic lawmakers.
Another fundraiser, hosted by Barre’s Republican Mayor Thom Lauzon and Montpelier’s Democratic Mayor John Hollar, will be held next week on Scott’s behalf.
In a statement, Corren said 86 percent of Scott’s campaign donations are from “big donors,” with average contributions to Scott’s campaign at $600.
Scott, who has been highly critical of Corren’s funding, again denounced Corren’s use of public money Monday. “I’d say his average is about $200,000 from one donor. I don’t know if we want to compare,” Scott said.
Corren, who is an avid supporter of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s proposed universal, publicly financed health plan, singled out a $2,000 contribution from MVP Health Care to Scott.
“MVP obviously believes they can count on my opponent to work against Vermonters’ desire for single-payer health care,” Corren said.
Shumlin, who is seeking a third term, reported raising $67,500 in contributions, including $3,000 of non-monetary in-kind donations. That brings Shumlin’s total haul for the election cycle to $577,000. With the money carried over from the last election cycle, Shumlin now has more than $1.1 million in cash on hand.
The governor spent $11,200 during the past month and a total of $76,700 during this election cycle.
Shumlin’s cash dwarfs his challengers’ war chests. Democratic candidate H. Brooke Paige, who is running a quixotic primary campaign, reported no contributions and expenditures of about $500.
Republican Scott Milne, the likely GOP nominee for governor, reported raising just $22,370, bringing his total campaign contributions to $42,790. Milne has said he hopes to raise $200,000 for the general election, meaning he will need three strong fundraising months to meet his target in November.
Meanwhile, Milne reported spending $27,718 in the past month and $28,324 overall. That leaves him with about $14,000 in cash on hand as the Aug. 26 primary approaches.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Emily Peyton reported raising no money and spending $1,181 during the monthlong reporting period.
Polls in Vermont will open sometime between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Aug. 26. Poll locations can be found on the secretary of state’s website. Those who wish to vote in the primary must be registered by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Registered voters can request an early ballot from their town clerk in person, by phone or by mail. All early and absentee ballot requests must be submitted by 5 p.m. Aug. 25.
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