Candidates for Lt. Governor Disagree on Spending Limits

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(Host) Republican Lieutenant Governor hopeful Brian Dubie is calling on his opponents to agree to a $100,000 spending cap in their upcoming race. Progressive Anthony Pollina and Democrat Peter Shumlin have some serious concerns about the proposal.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Saying that he wants to have a campaign of ideas and not television soundbites, GOP lieutenant governor candidate Brian Dubie issued a challenge on Thursday to his opponents.

Dubie wants to cap spending in their race at $100,000 ¿ a limit established in Vermont’s voluntary campaign finance reform law. Dubie says there’s no reason why any candidate in the race needs to spend more than this amount:

(Dubie) “And let’s not have direct mail and hundreds of thousands of dollars in thirty second TV ads. Let’s have a campaign about shoe leather and ideas. And I’m just asking us to live by the law that my two opponents have a lot to do with writing and championing.”

(Kinzel) Democratic candidate Peter Shumlin says Dubie’s challenge is hypocritical because Dubie opposed a similar cap in his race two years ago against incumbent Douglas Racine. Shumlin is wary of a cap because he’s convinced that special interest groups are going to spend a lot of money to try to elect Dubie. And Shumlin notes that both Dubie and Progressive candidate Anthony Pollina ran statewide races in the last election:

(Shumlin) “Obviously, I don’t want to spend any more than I have to, but I’ll make this very clear: I’m going to have to see how much the pharmaceutical industry and other right wing causes are willing to spend to try to take me out before I am willing to commit to any spending limits.”

(Kinzel) Pollina says he’s interested in a spending cap but he’s very concerned that both the national Republican and Democratic Parties are going to pump a lot of money into this race. If that happens, Pollina says a spending cap by the candidate would be meaningless:

(Pollina) ” I cannot get involved in a situation where I’m limiting my spending to $100,000 and then the Democratic and Republican parties are spending a million dollars on TV ads to get their candidates elected. I mean that’s the kind of thing that makes citizens even more cynical.”

(Kinzel) Dubie says his offer to limit spending is available only until the beginning of next month. If Pollina and Shumlin do not sign an agreement by that time, Dubie says he’ll begin raising as much money as he thinks he needs to win the campaign.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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