Democrats maintain large fundraising lead in governor, lieutenant governor races

Molly Gray, a Democrat, left, and Scott Milne, a Republican, are among the top candidates in their respective primary bids for lieutenant governor. VTDigger photos
Molly Gray, a Democrat, left, and Scott Milne, a Republican, are the leading candidates for lieutenant governor. VTDigger photos

The Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor continue to outraise their Republican opponents ahead of the November election, the latest campaign finance disclosures show.  

In the governor’s race, Lt. Gov David Zuckerman, the Democratic nominee, maintains a fundraising lead over Republican Gov. Phil Scott, bringing in $112,000 since Aug. 1, and his victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. 

[For complete information about how much all of the candidates for House, Senate and statewide seats have raised, check out VTDigger’s Campaign Finance database.]

Scott, who has not prioritized fundraising or campaigning this year because of the pandemic, raised $36,000 in the last month. In total, his campaign has brought in $134,000 this election cycle. 

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Assistant Attorney General Molly Gray outraised Republican Scott Milne. Gray received $74,000 in donations in August, compared to Milne’s roughly $45,000. 

The governor, who announced he would seek a third term in May, initially avoided campaigning and fundraising to focus on his response to the Covid-19 crisis.

But after he won the Republican gubernatorial primary in August, he said he would ramp up campaign efforts. 

Scott recently hired Jason Maulucci,  an aide in his administration, to serve as his campaign manager. Since Aug. 1, he has raised $36,000 from 34 donors. 

In the last month, the governor has spent $56,000, almost all of it with Optimus Consulting, LLC, a data strategy firm that works for center-right political campaigns and advocacy groups.

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Scott’s contributors include the former mayor of Barre, Thomas Lauzon, who is close with Scott and has advised his administration on its response to Covid-19. Lauzon, his wife Karen, and a company Lauzon owns, 47 North Main Street, LLC, each gave Scott the maximum donation: $4,160.

Middlebury Beef Inc., another one of Lauzon’s businesses, also gave Scott $4,160.

Dee Pomerleau, the wife of prominent Burlington developer Ernie Pomerleau gave Scott $4,000.  Former Democratic Burlington city councilor Ed Adrian gave Scott $360. 

Florida billionaire Thomas Peterffy, a regular donor to Republicans around the country, gave the governor $4,160. 

The Republican Governors Association also spent $54,000 on the governor’s reelection campaign. The RGA has placed $125,000 into a Political Action Committee called “A Stronger Vermont” to fund campaign activities for the governor this year. 

About a month ago, the PAC gave $54,000 to National Research Inc., a New Jersey based company that conducts polling for Republican candidates. 

Zuckerman brings in $461,000 total

In the last month, Zuckerman, Scott’s Democratic challenger, raised $112,000 from 1041 donors. 

Since he launched his campaign in January, the lieutenant governor has brought in just over $461,000, and spent about $365,000.

Zuckerman’s contributors included prominent Democrats Attorney General T.J. Donovan who gave Zuckerman’s campaign $1,000, and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, who gave $2,000. 

Our Revolution, a political organization founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders to support progressive candidates, donated $2,500 to Zuckerman’s bid.  

Zuckerman is a longtime Progressive who has also run for statewide office as a Democrat. 

Green Mountain PAC, a political action committee run by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., gave Zuckerman $1,000. 

Michael Dukakis, the former governor of Massachusetts, donated $250. Dukakis is from Brookline, where Zuckerman grew up. 

Zuckerman’s campaign also announced this week that longtime progressive backer and Ben and Jerry’s co-founder, Ben Cohen, is producing a special ice cream flavor for the lieutenant governor’s campaign as a fundraising tool. 

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, left, confers with Gov. Phil Scott before Scott delivered his State of the State address at the Statehouse in Montpelier on Thursday, January 9, 2020. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

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Some of Zuckerman’s other contributors included:

Longtime advisor to Sen. Bernie Sanders, Jeff Weaver has donated $950 to Zuckerman this year.  

Former Vermont Democratic Party Chair Faisal Gill has given Zuckerman the maximum $4,160 donation. 

Vermont Sens. Anthony Pollina, P/D Washington, Phil Baruth D/P Chittenden, donated $500 and $250, respectively. Sen. Alison Clarkson D-Windsor, $250 personally and another $250 through her political campaign.

Retired Air Force Col. Roseanne Greco, a prominent advocate against the basing of F-35 jets in Burlington, also completed giving Zuckerman the maximum $4,000 donation. Robin Lloyd, a Burlington peace advocate who has also opposed the F-35 basing, has given Zuckerman $1,200.

Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer, a Progressive, donated $500. Former Democratic Lt. Gov. Doug Racine has donated $150.

Former state Sen. Scudder Parker, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2006, gave Zuckerman $150. Former Progressive Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle, has given $805 to Zuckerman’s campaign.  Former House Speaker Shap Smith, who ran against Zuckerman in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, donated $250.

Lieutenant governor candidates raise more than $350,000 so far

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Gray, the Democratic candidate, brought in $74,000 from 311 donors, bringing the total she’s raised this year to $287,000. 

Gray’s donors included former Vermont governor Howard Dean who gave her the maximum donation of $4,160, and Donovan, the attorney general, who gave her $1,000. 

Leahy’s PAC donated $4,000 to Gray, and Welch, through his reelection campaign, gave Gray the maximum donation.

Smith, the former House speaker, and another former Democratic speaker Gaye Symington each gave Gray $250. Jerry O’Neill, a Burlington attorney who has represented victims of abuse who faced abuse by members Burlington Vermont Catholic Diocese donated $1,500. Former Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, who lost the Democratic nomination for governor last month, donated $1,000. 

Former Luke Albee, Leahy’s former chief of staff, has given $1,700  to the Gray campaign. Ed Pagano, another former chief of staff for Leahy, has donated $2000. Burlington developer Ernie Pomerleau gave $1000 last month, and prominent Burlington businessman Pat Robins has donated $2000. Clavelle, the former mayor of Burlington, and Miro Weinberger, the city’s current mayor, have given Gray $300 and $250 respectively. Chen, the former health commissioner, gave Gray $500.

So far, Gray’s campaign has raised $287,000 and spent the majority of its campaign funds— $205,000.

Gray touted her fundraising efforts late Monday.

“I remain humbled by the unwavering support of this campaign,” Gray said in a statement. “As a campaign, we will continue to put the needs of people and communities at the forefront and unite our state for a brighter future.”

Since August, Milne has received contributions from 176 donors, raising about $45,000. 

Overall, he has brought in $91,000 since he launched his bid in late May. 

The Republican candidate has put about $20,000 of his own money into his campaign and so far, has spent a total of $46,000. 

The Shearer Acura car dealership in South Burlington donated $1,000 to Milne’s campaign.

Milne’s son, Keith, gave him $3,660 last month, bringing the total he has donated to the campaign this year to $4,160. Burlington real estate developer James Pizzagalli has given Milne $2,000.

Earlier this week, Milne announced a campaign staff that includes consultant Jim Barnett, who served as an aide to Republican Gov. Jim Douglas and U.S. Sen. John McCain, and press secretary Mike Donohue, the former chair of the Chittenden County Republicans. 

“I am proud of the talented group of professionals we have assembled for the campaign at this critical time for our state’s future and economic health,” Milne said in a statement. 

“I appreciate the time and energy they and our supporters across the state are committing to help me bring balance to Montpelier and provide Governor Scott an active partner in the vital work ahead,” Milne said.

Milne also received the official endorsement Tuesday from Scott, who praised Milne’s business skills.

This story was updated with additional financial information at 4 pm Wednesday.

Correction: Keith Miller was originally misidentified.

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