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Out-Of-State Donors Fuel Shumlin Campaign Cash

Campaign finance reports submitted Monday show that Gov. Peter Shumlin is resting on a seven-figure war chest heading into the 2014 election season.

Shumlin’s largesse comes thanks to out-of-state donors, who have contributed more than $240,000 to the second-term Democrat since last July. Shumlin raised only about $80,000 from Vermonters.

Combined with money left over from his 2012 campaign, the Shumlin campaign now has more than $1 million in the bank. And with no serious Republican contender yet to announce a challenge, the latest finance reports cement Shumlin’s status as an overwhelming favorite to win a third term.

Randy Brock, Shumlin’s Republican rival in 2012 – he lost by 20 percentage points – has said he’s considering a rematch. Brock has taken aim in recent months at the Shumlin Administration’s rollout of the new health insurance exchange.

A finance report submitted by Brock Monday shows that he loaned his campaign $18,500 during the latest reporting period. He provided the money July 16, 2013, the day after the last campaign finance filing deadline. According to the filing, Brock spent the money on services from Strategy for Media, the Ohio-based consulting firm he paid to put together radio and television advertisements in 2012.

Shumlin has only spent only $19,000 during the last reporting period, most of it, according to his campaign’s filing, on general administrative overhead.

Eight-term Democratic incumbent Attorney General Bill Sorrell, who until recently thought he might have another primary battle against Chittenden County State’s Attorney TJ Donovan, raised $25,800 over the last nine months. Every dollar came from out-of-state donors.

Donovan earlier this year announced that he would not seek a primary rematch against Sorrell.

Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has taken in only $8,500 since the last reporting deadline, while Democratic State Treasurer Beth Pearce raised just $1,500, and State Auditor Doug Hoffer, a Progressive/Democrat, reported zero contributions to his campaign.

The Vermont Republican Party’s state committee reported $44,000, thanks in part to a well-attended fund-raiser last December featuring New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The Vermont Democratic Party state committee took in less than $30,000. But when you include each party’s federal committees, Democrats have outraised Republicans since the last election.

The 2014 campaign season is off to a slow start. Seven Days last week reported that Democratic activist John Bauer is poised to announce a run against Scott. But none of the five Democrats in statewide office have yet to encounter a serious Republican challenger.

David Sunderland, chairman of the Vermont GOP, says that will change in the reasonably near future, when he says Republicans will produce a respectable slate of statewide candidates.