Candidates Fundraise for Most Expensive Race Ever

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(Host) Vermont’s gubernatorial candidates are doing a lot of fundraising this summer. They believe that overall spending in their race will break the state record for a governor’s race.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) As the candidates in this year’s gubernatorial race put the finishing touches on their campaign budgets, one key fact is emerging: More money is going to be spent in the governor s race than ever before.

In the 2000 race, both Governor Howard Dean and Republican candidate Ruth Dwyer spent almost one million dollars. Progressive Anthony Pollina qualified for public funds and spent roughly $330,000.

This year, there s no incumbent in the race and the national political parties are eager to win this contest. Both Republican Jim Douglas and Democrat Doug Racine expect to spend at least one million dollars on their campaigns and Independent Con Hogan would like to raise $300,000.

Two years ago, the national political parties played a major role by contributing more than half a million dollars to the Dean and Dwyer campaigns. This year, Democratic candidate Doug Racine thinks the national committees will be less of a factor because there are twice as many gubernatorial races across the country. This means the Vermont candidates will have to pick up a greater share of the fundraising effort:

(Racine) The question is the level of support. They offered a lot of support last year but there weren’t nearly as many governorships up for grabs. This year I believe there are 37 or 38 races around the country, so they’re going to spread their money around a little thinner than they did last year. But they’ve pledged their support. They see this as an important race and I’m happy to have their support.

(Kinzel) Vermont’s campaign finance reform law limits individual contributions to a gubernatorial candidate to $400 for the entire campaign. GOP candidate Jim Douglas says this restriction means that he has to spend a lot of time on fund-raising efforts:

(Douglas) When I ran for the Senate ten years ago, I could accept up to $2,000 from any source and now it s only 20 % of that a decade later. So it s very, very difficult. It’s time-consuming. It takes a lot of time away from other aspects of the campaign just to raise the money.

(Kinzel) Independent candidate Con Hogan is holding a series of community events in an effort to boost his campaign fund. Hogan says he won t be able to compete with Racine and Douglas on the number of TV spots that each campaign runs. But he feels he will be competitive with these campaigns on Election Day if he is able to build a strong grass roots organization.

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

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