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In Vermont primary campaign’s final month, donors flocked to Lt. Gov., AG candidates

A hand holding up an I Voted sticker with an American flag.
Angela Evancie
/
VPR File
As Vermont voters cast their ballots ahead of the Aug. 9 primary, campaigns for open statewide offices brought in thousands in campaign contributions.

Candidates vying to fill statewide offices in Vermont hauled in tens of thousands of dollars ahead of the Aug. 9 primary, in what could be decisive races for multiple open positions.

On Monday, Aug. 1, state campaigns filed their final financial reports before next week's election, covering donation and spending activity in the month of July. The Democratic primary will likely decide several open statewide offices, including attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor.

More from Vermont Public: Vermont 2022 primary election: A voter's guide

Lieutenant governor

Democrats running for lieutenant governor raised among the highest dollar totals in July, in the race to replace Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, who’s running for Congress.

Former state Rep. Kitty Toll led with over $56,000 in contributions, while spending nearly $96,000. However, Patricia Preston, the head of the Vermont Council on World Affairs, heads into the primary with the most cash on hand, at over $59,000. That’s despite Preston raising $4,824 in July, the lowest of the four Democratic candidates. Former Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman raised nearly $30,000, and sits on $38,000 heading into the election, while state Rep. Charlie Kimbell raised $13,345, including $5,000 of his own money.

On the Republican side, state Sen. Joe Benning far outpaced his right-wing challenger, Gregory Thayer. Benning raised over $11,000 to Thayer’s $352. Benning has over $12,500 in the bank, while Thayer has $217.

More from Vermont Public: A Republican primary for lieutenant governor reveals a broader divide in Vermont GOP

Attorney general

Charity Clark, vying to replace her former boss TJ Donovan, raised over three times as much as Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault in the Democratic race for attorney general. Clark reported nearly $38,000 in contributions in July, including $1,500 from former Gov. Peter Shumlin, and $4,210 from the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association. Thibault, meanwhile, raised over $12,000, including $1,100 he loaned his campaign.

More from Vermont Public: Two Democrats tout leadership experience in bid to become Vermont's next attorney general

Though he left the office to work for the gaming company Roblox in June, Donovan’s campaign account still holds nearly $300,000 from previous races.

Secretary of state, treasurer and auditor

Secretary of State Jim Condos is not seeking re-election, opening the way for three Democrats to run to take his place. Condos has endorsed his deputy Chris Winters, and Winters led the fundraising race in July, bringing in over $14,000 and spending nearly $26,000. That’s ahead of Bradford Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, who raised $12,000 and spent over $24,000. Montpelier City Clerk John Odum raised just $375 during the month and spent about $650.

Despite running unopposed to replace retiring Treasurer Beth Pearce, former Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak sits on over $77,000 in campaign funds. He raised over $12,000 in July. That includes donations of $1,000 or more from state Sen. Michael Sirotkin, real estate mogul Ernest Pomerleau and the Vermont Troopers’ Association PAC.

State Auditor Doug Hoffer, who’s also running unopposed, raised a mere $100 and spent $170.

Federal races heat up

The latest financial reports for candidates in the hotly-contested Democratic primary for Vermont’s only U.S. House seat were filed in mid-July. They show Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray nearly tied in their fundraising totals. Balint has raised over $1.1 million to date, to Gray’s $1.05 million. However, Balint has spent more than Gray, leaving Gray with over twice as much cash on hand. A third candidate, Louis Meyers, has loaned his campaign over $250,000 and spent over $27,000 to date.

In the race to replace retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Peter Welch has a clear funding advantage. He’s raised $4.6 million so far, including donations from several political action committees, and a $51,000 contribution from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Welch has over $2.7 million on hand.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Attorney for Vermont Christina Nolan has raised over $360,000, more than what candidates Myers Mermel and Gerald Malloy have raised combined.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch with reporter Henry Epp @TheHenryEpp.

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Henry is a reporter and co-host of The Frequency, VPR's daily news podcast.
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