ST. ALBANS — In 2018, Franklin County’s legislative candidates were approaching $200,000 in combined donations by the end of October. This year candidates are bringing in, and spending, far less. Part of that may be a function of the lack of competitive races, with just five of the county’s eight House districts having races. On the Senate side, well-known Republican incumbents are being challenged by much less well-known Progressives, with no Democrats running.
Candidates must file a campaign disclosure when they have raised or spent $500 or more. Disclosure forms are due on the first of the month from July to October, with additional reports due on Oct. 15, Oct. 30 and Nov. 17, and a final report due on Dec. 15.
The Messenger examined reports filed on or before Oct. 15.
More information on campaign finance and expenditures, including candidate filings and a searchable database, may be found at the Secretary of State’s website (sos.vermont.gov/elections/campaign-finance).
What local candidates have raised and spent, by race. Franklin County Senate
Republican incumbents Randy Brock and Corey Parent have both raised and spent thousands, while their Progressive challengers Chloe Viner Collins and Luke Richter have not yet filed campaign expenditure reports.
Randy Brock: Spent $5,127, raised $1,254, carried $9,236 over from previous campaign.
Corey Parent: Raised $8,780, spent $4,557.
Franklin 1, representing Georgia
Incumbent Republican Carl Rosenquist is facing a challenge from independent Ben Chiappinelli. Chiappinelli has not yet filed a campaign disclosure form.
Carl Rosenquist: Raised $1,920, spent $150.
Franklin 3-1 representing St. Albans City and part of St. Albans Town.
There are two incumbents in this race, Democrat Mike McCarthy and Republican Casey Toof, as well as two challengers, Republican Bruce Cheeseman and Democrat David Glidden. Cheeseman has not yet filed any campaign finance reports.
David Glidden: Raised $4,298, spent $3,195.
Mike McCarthy: Raised $3,226, spent $1,771. Carried over $35.26 from previous campaign.
Casey Toof: Raised $8,614, spent $4,080.
Franklin 4, representing Swanton and Sheldon
There is just one incumbent in this two-person district, Republican Brian Savage. Former Franklin County Sheriff Robert Norris is also running as a Republican. There is just one Democrat in the race, Nicholas Brosseau. Norris has not filed any campaign finance disclosures.
Nicholas Brosseau: Raised $745, spent $569.
Brian Savage: Raised $2,235, spent $1,158.
Franklin 5, representing Berkshire, Franklin, Highgate, Richford
Franklin 5 also has a Democratic incumbent, Charen Fegard, and a Republican incumbent, Lisa Hango. Both are seeking a second term. Also in the race is Democrat Daniel Nadeau and Republican Paul Martin. Martin and Nadeau have not yet filed any campaign finance disclosure forms.
Charen Fegard: Raised $125, spent $192.
Lisa Hango: Raised $3,172, spent $2,062.
Frankin 7, representing Enosburgh and Montgomery
Incumbent Republican Felisha Leffler, who was elected in 2018, is being challenged by Democrat Dennis Williams.
Felisha Leffler: Raised $3,141, spent $56.
Dennis Williams: Raised $3,702, spent $3,180.
Where is the money coming from?
Most of the candidates reported small donations. Only donors who give more than $100 must be named.
A handful of Vermont businessmen donated to multiple Republican candidates, including James Pizzagalli and the Vallee family. Local business owners Gordon Winters, Dave Underwood and Edward Tyler donated to more than one Republican candidate.
There were fewer donors showing up on the reports of multiple Democratic candidates, who generally tended to raise less money.
The only large donations noted by the Messenger came from Massachusetts couple Tom and Carol Breuer, who each gave $1,560 to Parent and $1,040 to Leffler. The Breuers, known for their support of anti-LGBTQ groups and initiatives, donated large sums to Franklin County Republicans two years ago, giving a total of $23,750 by the end of October.
What about political action committees (PACs)?
PACs may be formed by corporations, unions or other interest groups for the purpose of donating to candidates. A caucus within the legislature may also form its own PAC known as a legislative leadership PAC.
The Common Sense Leadership PAC, formed by the Republican caucus and with St. Albans Town Rep. Lynn Dickinson as its treasurer, is the only PAC the Messenger found which has donated to local candidates so far this cycle. Its contributions come from Republican legislators and it donated $250 each to 16 Republican legislative candidates so far this cycle, including several in Franklin County.