Update: Ram, Chittenden lead in Senate fundraising

by Guy Page

September 23, 2020 – Two Democratic challengers for a Chittenden County senate seat are the top fundraisers among all 2020 Vermont Senate candidates. 

(Editor’s note: this post is revised and corrected from this afternoon’s post, which contained erroneous information.)

According to Sept. 1 campaign finance reports sent to the Secretary of State, former Burlington House member and unsuccessful 2016 lieutenant governor candidate Kesha Ram leads all candidates with $76,358 for the Vermont Senate race. Major donors include Thomas Leavitt of Waterbury ($1750) and Thom and Karen Lauzon of Barre ($1500 each). More than a third of her contributions come from out-of-state. To date Ram has spent more than $60,000, with about $6000 going to mass media. Other major expenses included printing, postage and staff.

Ram is among the challengers who opted to run for a Chittenden Senate seat after incumbents Tim Ashe and Deb Ingram ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. (Interesting family fact about Ram, according to Wikipedia, her Aunt Baroness Shreela Flather is a life peer in the British House of Lords. Another ancestor was a knighted Indian philanthropist.) Raised in Santa Monica, California, she earned a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard. Some of her out-of-state contributors also have Harvard connections.

Ranking second with $45,597 raised as of 9/1 is another Democrat and challenger from Vermont’s largest county, Thomas Chittenden (a descendent of first Vermont Gov. Thomas Chittenden, after whom the county is named) a UVM faculty member, lifelong county resident, South Burlington city councilor, and volunteer firefighter. 

About a third of Ram’s contributions come from out-of-state, compared to about three percent of Chittenden’s. Of the other senate candidates with more than $10,000 in contributions, incumbent Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) has received the most out-of-state money ($11,415). Incumbent Mike Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) has raised slightly more out-of-state than in-state. Some out-of-state donors are family members.

The highest Republican fundraiser (Josh Terenzini) and Independent fundraiser (Michael Shank) both hail from Rutland County, where incumbent Republican Jim McNeil declined to run again.

State law exempts candidates with less than $500 in donations from having to file campaign finance updates. Many of the “no report posted” candidates are either independents or major party candidates who joined the race after the August 11 primary (a wrinkle permitted by the 2020 election law). All candidates must submit final reports no later than Dec. 15.  “No funds raised” indicates that a report was filed showing no funds raised as of yet for the 2020 campaign.

To view more information, go to the Vermont Secretary of State campaign finance page named “Search Filed Reports.” Click the “Office Type” box at lower left and select “General Assembly.” Then click on the “Office” box at lower right and select “Senate.” All the candidates listed below should appear.

Senate CandidateTotal 2020 contributions per most recent SOS filingCountyTown Of ResidenceParty
Kesha Ram$76,358ChittendenBurlingtonDemocratic
Thomas Chittenden$45,597ChittendenSouth BurlingtonDemocratic
Alison H. Clarkson$22,220WindsorWoodstockDemocratic
Christopher Pearson$11,243ChittendenBurlingtonProgressive/Dem
Michael Sirotkin$10,200ChittendenSouth BurlingtonDemocratic
Joshua C. Terenzini$8,055RutlandRutland TownRepublican
Corey Parent$6,330FranklinSt. Albans TownRepublican
Michael Shank$4,977RutlandBrandonIndependent
Terry K. Williams$4,550RutlandPoultneyRepublican
Matthew Choate$4,535CaledoniaDanvilleDemocratic
Bill T. Huff$3,534OrangeThetfordRepublican
Michael “Mike” Hall$3,050BenningtonSunderlandRepublican
Ruth Hardy$2,296AddisonMiddleburyDemocratic
Michael Jasinski Sr$2,115WindsorSpringfieldRepublican
Becca Balint$2,054WindhamBrattleboroDemocratic
Virginia “Ginny” Lyons$1,820ChittendenWillistonDemocratic
Larry Courcelle$1,805RutlandMendonDemocratic
Cheryl M. Hooker$1,433RutlandRutland CityDemocratic
Brian “BC” Collamore$1,350RutlandRutland TownRepublican
Kumulia “Kase” Long$1,110ChittendenMiltonRepublican
Meg Hansen$1,075BenningtonManchesterRepublican
J.T. Dodge$933CaledoniaNewburyLibertarian
Andrew Perchlik$931WashingtonMontpelierDem/prog
Randy Brock$904FranklinSwantonRepublican
Jon Christiano$760AddisonNew HavenRepublican
Jane Kitchel$711CaledoniaDanvilleDemocratic
Dawnmarie Tomasi$600WashingtonBarre TownRepublican
Anthony Pollina$567WashingtonMiddlesexProgressive/Dem
Ericka Redic$387.00ChittendenBurlingtonRepublican
Ann Cummings$340WashingtonMontpelierDemocratic
Alice W. Nitka$50WindsorLudlowDemocratic
Richard “Dick” Mccormack$25WindsorBethelDemocratic
James EhlersNo report postedChittendenWinooskiIndependent
Christopher BrayNo report postedAddisonBristolDemocratic
John S. RodgersNo report postedEssex-OrleanGloverIndependent
Charles W. WilsonNo report postedCaledoniaLyndonRepublican
Peter BriggsNo report postedAddisonAddisonRepublican
Archie FlowerNo report postedAddisonHancockLibertarian
Kevin HoytNo report postedBenningtonBenningtonIndependent
Susan BowenNo report postedChittendenShelburneRepublican
Tom ChastenayNo report postedChittendenMiltonRepublican
Kylie HollingsworthNo report postedChittendenMiltonRepublican
Dean RollandNo report postedChittendenHinesburgRepublican
Russ IngallsNo report postedEssex-Orl.Newport CityRepublican
Jonathan L. MorinNo report postedEssex-Orl.HollandRepublican
Ron HortonNo report postedEssex-Orl.JayDemocratic
Chloe CollinsNo report postedFranklinSwantonProgressive
Luke RichterNo report postedFranklinAlburghProgressive
Wayne Billado IIINo report postedFranklinSaint Albans CityIndependent
Richard “Dick” MazzaNo report postedGrand IsleColchesterDemocratic/Repub.
Brittany D. CavacasNo report postedRutlandRutland CityIndependent
Casey JenningsNo report postedRutlandRutland CityIndependent
Richard “sensei” LenchusNo report postedRutlandBensonIndependent
Greg CoxNo report postedRutlandWest RutlandDemocratic
Dwayne TuckerNo report postedWashingtonBarre TownRepublican
Paul VallerandNo report postedWashingtonBarre TownIndependent
John LyddyNo report postedWindhamWhitinghamRepublican
Marcus R. ParishNo report postedWindhamRockinghamRepublican
Tyler ColfordNo report postedWindhamWhitinghamIndependent
Keith SternNo report postedWindsorSpringfieldIndependent
Mason WadeNo report postedWindsorRochesterIndependent
Doug WilberdingNo report postedWindsorNorwichIndependent
Joe BenningNo funds raisedCaledoniaLyndonRepublican
Robert StarrNo funds raisedEssex-Orl.TroyDemocratic
Jack WilliamsNo funds raisedWindsorWeathersfieldRepublican
Brian CampionNo funds raisedBenningtonBenningtonDemocratic
Dick SearsNo funds raisedBenningtonBenningtonDemocratic
Phil BaruthNo funds raisedChittendenBurlingtonDemocratic/Prog.
Richard A. WestmanNo funds raisedLamoilleCambridgeRepubican/Dem
Mark A. MacdonaldNo funds raisedOrangeWilliamstownDemocratic
Ken AlgerNo funds raisedWashingtonBarre TownRepublican
Jeanette WhiteNo funds raisedWindhamPutneyDemocratic

PHOTOS: Kesha Ram (left) and Tom Chittenden, from their Twitter pages.

Commentary: Mark Shepard didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 – but he will now

Former Vermont state senator Mark Shepard (R-Bennington) writes: “Trump’s victory was a big surprise to me. Why did millions of Americans who are good neighbors and fun to be around vote for a man with Trump’s personality and troublesome history? I believe that question is best answered by the looking at the actions of the political left.”

VT Watercooler Comment of the Day:

ZUCKERMAN WOULD HAVE ENFORCED MASK BAN SOONER: “Zuckerman sold his soul to Big Pharma. It’s pretty sad.”

Comment on VTWatercooler news by going to www.vtwatercooler.com:

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