As of now, Matt Dunne is the one to beat, at least in terms of money raised. Vermont News Bureau’s Neal Goswami reports that Dunne now has more than $430,000 in cash-on-hand — the most of any gubernatorial candidate — for the remainder of the primary season and into the general election if he wins the nomination. Dunne’s Democratic primary opponent, Sue Minter, currently has $328,500 cash on hand which is nothing to sneeze at, either. So this current advantage may not make Dunne a front-runner, but he can hang his hat on it for now.
Right now, it looks like the Dunne campaign hopes to piggy-back on turnout and fund raising among the Bernie Sanders voters. Should Sanders win or lose the nomination the enthusiasm for change he fueled is likely to spill over to some degree into November.
Dunne had already moved to mark out a share of that territory with his refusal of corporate donations. Said Dunne when he gave back about $16,000.00 in corporate donations “inspired by Bernie Sanders and his ability to compete with a people-powered campaign.”
Good strategy, but the announcement likely produced fewer bangs for his bucks thanks to the scene-stealing skills of Peter Galbraith. At the news conference called by Dunne, Galbraith ‘reluctantly’ commented on whether he may or may not enter the gubernatorial primary race.
The other day Dunne’s campaign manager pitched or those voters again – linking Bernie’s enthusiastic voter base with Dunne’s fundraising philosophy:
“There’s a wide mix, including a great deal of in-state Vermonters who have made small-dollar contributions,” Nick Charyk said. “We have contributions from Vermonters in every county in the state and a lot of Vermonters who have never made a contribution before who have said, ‘my first contribution was to Bernie [Sanders] and now I’m donating to Matt.’”
Whoever wins the gubernatorial primary – Dunne or Minter – better build a good turnout firewall: Republican Phil Scott not only has excellent statewide name recognition with all voters but can also count on support from some Democrats even in a presidential year. Senator Dick Mazza (D, alleged) is already fundraising for his favorite Republican friend. And Senator John Campbell, Scott’s other Democratic BFF may even be counted on to help out the Republican in a pinch.
And former state senator Peter Galbraith has warned us he is waiting in the wings and may enter the primary race – joining the performance already underway.