Candidates disclose campaign finances; Hardy, Newton have raised the most

ADDISON COUNTY — First-time state Senate candidate Ruth Hardy is thus far the big leader in campaign fund raising in the lead up to the November general elections. Records on file with the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office show the East Middlebury Democrat had raised $12,722 as of July 15, the latest campaign finance filing deadline for major party candidates who had raised or spent more than $500 since March 15.
An inspection of Addison County candidates’ coffers shows many of those seeking posts in the Vermont House, Senate or countywide positions aren’t raising or spending as much money as in past election cycles in recent memory. That’s in part a reflection of the significant number of uncontested elections this fall.
Incumbent lawmakers representing the Addison-1, Addison-2 and Addison-5 House districts have no competition for new two-year terms in Montpelier. Neither do incumbent Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, and Vergennes Democrat Matthew Birong, who are unopposed for the two seats in the Addison-3 House district that represents Addison, Ferrisburgh, Vergennes, Panton and Waltham.
As one might imagine, the most active fund raising has been occurring in the most hotly contested race, for the two Addison-4 House seats representing Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro. Four Democrats will compete in an Aug. 14 primary to determine which two will advance to the Nov. 6 general election against incumbent Rep. Fred Baser, R-Bristol, and Monkton Republican Valerie Mullin.
Both Baser and Mullin had not raised or spent the requisite $500 to generate a campaign finance report by July 15. But all of the four Democrats have exceeded that threshold, state records show.
Leading the Addison-4 fundraising field is Mari Cordes of Lincoln, who reported having raised a total of $5,415, of which she had spent $4,862. She received $3,127 of that amount in contributions of less than $100. Her largest contributions have come from the Vermont State Employees’ Association Vermont Political Awareness Committee ($1,020), Andrew Tobey of Lincoln ($200), Megan Frenzen of Shelburne ($150) and Melanie Peyser of Ferrisburgh ($150).
Fellow Lincoln resident Paul Forlenza reported contributions of $5,385, with $2,400 of that coming in donations of less than $100. He has spent $3,260 thus far. Forlenza and his immediate family have thus far bankrolled his campaign to the tune of $1,710.
Meanwhile, Caleb Elder of Starksboro has reported contributions of $2,465, of which $563 has come in increments of less than $100. His largest contributions have come from his father, John Elder ($500); departing Addison-4 Rep. Dave Sharpe, D-Bristol, and his wife Pat ($301); $300 each from Owen and Sarah McClain of Lincoln and Andrea Lunsford of California; and $250 each from Oakley Smith of Lincoln, and from Myung Nam of Maryland.
Elder had spent $1,382 as of July 15.
Rounding out the Addison-4 Democratic field is Robert Demic of Bristol, who reported contributions totaling $1,215, of which he had spent $827. Demic has contributed $1,200 thus far to his own campaign.
A spirited race for Addison County sheriff has also translated into some active fund raising, particularly by Middlebury Democrat Peter Newton, a lieutenant in the department. Records show Newton had raised $8,650 as of July 15, largely in contributions of $100 or more. He’s spent $5,845 to date, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Newton’s biggest donors thus far include Kathryn Newton of Middlebury and Anne Louise Santos of Morrisville and David Santos of Morrisville, who have each given $1,250 to his campaign. Other large donors include Brent Newton of Vergennes ($1,000), Paul Elmore of Middlebury ($500), and Dylan Newton of Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Incumbent Sheriff Don Keeler has donated $500 to date to the Newton campaign, records show.
Newton will face fellow Middlebury Democrat Ron Holmes in a Aug. 14 primary. While Holmes’ records weren’t available on the Secretary of State’s website as the Independent went to press on Wednesday, Holmes reported having raised/spent $908 — all of it his own money. Holmes said he’s provided the Secretary of State’s Office with his finance forms.
Barbara Wilson, a Shoreham Democrat competing for the Addison-Rutland House seat, reported donations totaling $2,585 as of July 15. She and her husband, George Gross, have contributed a combined total of $1,050 to the campaign thus far. Other key contributors include Louise Peyser of Monkton ($250) and Monica McKenna of Cornwall ($110).
Incumbent Addison-Rutland Rep. Terry Norris, I-Shoreham, had not raised or spent the requisite $500 to trigger a campaign finance form.
Other candidates falling into that category as of July 15 included state Sen. Christopher Bray, D-New Haven; Addison Republican Peter Briggs, a candidate for state Senate; Bristol’s Kevin Gibbs, an independent candidate for county sheriff; incumbent Addison-2 Rep. Peter Conlon, D-Cornwall; and incumbent Addison-5 Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven.
Bray said this summer’s special legislative session and other tasks have delayed many incumbents in getting into campaign mode this year.
“Normally, I would have begun fundraising at this point in the campaign cycle, but until just recently I have been focused on the special session and getting a solid budget passed,” Bray said through an email. “In the last two weeks, I’ve spent most of my legislative time on constituent service … In short, I’m focusing on my work as a senator, not as a candidate. Soon, I will begin to reach our to voters to ask for their support in the August primary, and I will be campaigning very actively from late summer through November.”
Hardy has netted 139 campaign contributions thus far, with 120 of them totaling $6,747 in amounts of $100 or less.
Her largest donors, according to state records, include $500 from Elaine Mittell of Wellesley, Mass., $500 from Hannah Benz of Middlebury, $500 from Allan Stein of North Kingstown, R.I., and $500 from Michael DeSanto of Milton.
Hardy has thus far spent $3,754, according to state records.
While Lanpher and Birong are unopposed for the two Addison-3 seats, both reported raising more than $500 as of July 15.
Lanpher reported a 2016 campaign carry-over of $1,087, and new contributions totaling $1,075. She reported her spouse, Jim Lanpher, has contributed a combined total of $1,000 of her total to her campaign coffers. She reported having spent $1,286 thus far.
Birong disclosed contributions totaling $4,879, or which he had spent $1,522. His largest donations have come from himself ($500), Paula Moore of Panton ($500), Andrew Fritz of Vergennes ($500) and Leonard Sanguedolce of Pittston, Pa. ($500).
Both incumbent Addison-1 Reps. Amy Sheldon and Robin Scheu of Middlebury are unopposed for re-election. Sheldon has not reported raising or spending $500 as of July 15. But Scheu reported a 2016 campaign carry-over of $164, and new contributions totaling $600, of which she has financed $500.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

Share this story:

More News
US Probation Office Uncategorized

US Probation Office Request for Proposals

US Probation Office 2×1.5 062024 RFP

Middlebury American Legion Uncategorized

Middlebury American Legion Annual Meeting

Middlebury American Legion 062024 1×1.5 Annual Meeting

Sports Uncategorized

MAV girls’ lax nets two triumphs

The Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative girls’ lacrosse team moved over .500 with a pair o … (read more)

Share this story: