Local candidates raised, spent far less than in 2018

ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County candidates who ran for the Vermont Statehouse and for high bailiff raised and spent far less than they collectively did two years ago, and the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly had a lot to do with it.
Candidates for the two state Senate seats representing Addison County, Huntington and Buel’s Gore; those running in the county’s six House districts; and the three men vying for high bailiff had collectively raised $83,841 for their respective campaigns as of the state’s Nov. 17 post-election filing deadline. That figure is approximately one-third of the $224,404 that candidates collectively spent in Addison County General Election cycle of 2018.
Addison County’s campaign spending picture mirrored a statewide trend, according to Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos.
“It was understandable to see a decline of dollars spent because of COVID and new ways for people to campaign,” he said through an email to the Addison County Independent. “Obviously, the Gov’s race saw a significant decline in overall money spent, and the Lt. Governor’s race was a significant increase.”
Condos added he heard from “many potential donors” that they were directing much of their financial support to the race for U.S. president, in which Democrat Joe Biden defeated incumbent Republican Donald Trump.
Since candidates couldn’t go door-to-door due to social distancing restrictions, they carried their messages largely through social media, flyers, media advertising and smaller gatherings in which participants were masked and at least six feet away from one another.
Here are the fundraising/spending totals for this year’s House, Senate and high bailiff races in Addison County:
State Senate: Incumbent Sen. Chris Bray, D-Bristol, raised $8,122 and spent $1,176. Incumbent Sen. Ruth Hardy, D-Middlebury, raised $4,280 and spent $6,396, with a $3,297 surplus left over from her previous campaign. Republican challenger Jon Christiano of New Haven raised $2,099 and spent $2,176. Neither Republican challenger Peter Briggs nor Hancock Libertarian Archie Flower filed campaign finance reports, ostensibly indicating they didn’t raise or spend more than the requisite $500 to trigger a report filing
Vermont House
Addison-1, the two-seat House district that encompasses Middlebury: Incumbent Rep. Robin Scheu, D-Middlebury, raised a total of $975, and spent $2,176; she had a $505 carryover from her previous campaign. Incumbent Rep. Amy Sheldon, D-Middlebury, raised $300 and spent $1,050; she had a $967 carryover from her previous campaign. Republican challenger Tom Hughes did not have campaign finance reports on file with the state.
Addison-2, the one-seat district that includes the towns of Cornwall, Goshen, Hancock, Leicester, Ripton and Salisbury: Neither incumbent Rep. Peter Conlon, nor write-in challenger Millard (Mac) Cox have campaign finance reports on file with the state, indicating a low spending race.
Addison-3, the two-seat House district representing Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton and Waltham, and the city of Vergennes: Incumbent Rep. Matt Birong, D-Vergennes, raised $8,938 and spent $4,329; Republican challenger Tim Buskey of Addison raised $6,560, and spent $6,488; incumbent Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, raised $3,325 and spent $4,498, and she had a $1,170 carryover in funds from her previous campaign; and Republican challenger Steven Thurston of Ferrisburgh raised, and spent, $11,525.
Addison-4, the two-seat district that includes Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro: Incumbent Rep. Mary Cordes, D-Lincoln, raised $5,756 and spent $3,497; Republican challenger Lynn Dike raised $4,024 and spent $1,900; and incumbent Rep. Caleb Elder, D-Starksboro, raised $2,556 and spent $2,669, with a $1,356 surplus form his previous campaign. Republican challenger Valerie Mullin of Monkton didn’t have campaign finance reports on file with the secretary of state
Addison-5, the one-seat district that includes Bridport, New Haven and Weybridge: Incumbent Rep. Jubilee McGill raised $8,708 and spent $4,339; and incumbent Rep. Harvey Smith, R-New Haven, raised $2,300 and spent $2,290.
Addison-Rutland-1, the one-seat House district that includes Orwell, Shoreham, Whiting and Benson: Democrat challenger Ruth Bernstein of Shoreham reported raising $2,380, and spending $1,831. Both incumbent Rep. Terry Norris, I-Shoreham, and independent challenger Richard Lenchus of Benson didn’t have campaign finance reports on file with the state.
High bailiff: Middlebury Democrat Dave Silberman was the top fund raiser among all Addison County candidates this year. He raised $12,093 and spent $10,581 in his successful campaign for high bailiff. His two challengers — Republican Ron Holmes and independent Mike Elmore — didn’t have campaign finance reports on file with the secretary of state.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]

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