Douglas outpaces gubernatorial opponents in raising money

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas is leading the race for campaign cash.

The three main gubernatorial candidates released their fundraising numbers today.

The totals show that Douglas has raised more than three times as much as his Democratic challenger, House Speaker Gaye Symington.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Candidates use the money to get their message out to voters. Douglas has launched ads on the YouTube Web site to attack Gaye Symington. He projects a softer image with his radio ads.

(Radio Ad) “Jim Douglas knows people are struggling, and he’s working every day to help Vermonters through tough times.”

(Dillon) Symington is on YouTube, as well, with this direct appeal.

(Web Ad) “For too long Vermont has been stuck in neutral and Governor Douglas’ lack of initiative has taken its toll on our state.”

(Dillon) Soon, the fundraising dollars will help pay for slicker broadcast TV commercials.

The money is also a measure of public support.

(Nelson) “Money equals love. And the belief is that the politician who has the most money is clearly loved the most.”

(Dillon) Garrison Nelson is a University of Vermont political science professor. There aren’t any public polls out, yet, so Nelson says the money race serves as one test of a candidate’s popularity.

The politician with the deepest pockets can also get their message out to more people.

(Nelson) “They’ll be able to spend the most when it comes to buying media advertising later in the season.”

(Dillon) Here’s what the campaigns have reported to date.

Governor Douglas has raised about $737,000, and has spent $387,000.

Independent Anthony Pollina has collected $153,000 in contributions, and spent $130,000.

Democrat Symington has raised $205,000, and spent about $71,000.

Political scientist Nelson was not surprised by Douglas’s totals.

(Nelson) “This is a man making his 15th statewide race. This is a man who knows where all the pockets are, the shallow ones as well as the deep ones.”

(Dillon) Symington’s campaign says she set a record fundraising pace for Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

Two years ago, Democratic challenger Scudder Parker reported more money collected at this point in the campaign cycle. But Symington says she launched her campaign in May, and has been fundraising for less time than Parker.

Liberty Union candidate Peter Diamondstone did not file a report because he hasn’t met the $500 threshold.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.



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