Ram, Chittenden lead in Senate fundraising

By Guy Page

Two Democratic challengers for a Chittenden County Senate seat are the top fundraisers among all 2020 Vermont Senate candidates.

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.

Kesha Ram for State Senate

Democrat Kesha Ram

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 Candidate Total 2020 contributions per most recent SOS filing County Town Of Residence Party
Kesha Ram $76,358 Chittenden Burlington Democratic
Thomas Chittenden $45,597 Chittenden South Burlington Democratic
Alison H. Clarkson $22,220 Windsor Woodstock Democratic
Christopher Pearson $11,243 Chittenden Burlington Progressive/Dem
Michael Sirotkin $10,200 Chittenden South Burlington Democratic
Joshua C. Terenzini $8,055 Rutland Rutland Town Republican
Corey Parent $6,330 Franklin St. Albans Town Republican
Michael Shank $4,977 Rutland Brandon Independent
Terry K. Williams $4,550 Rutland Poultney Republican
Matthew Choate $4,535 Caledonia Danville Democratic
Bill T. Huff $3,534 Orange Thetford Republican
Michael “Mike” Hall $3,050 Bennington Sunderland Republican
Ruth Hardy $2,296 Addison Middlebury Democratic
Michael Jasinski Sr $2,115 Windsor Springfield Republican
Becca Balint $2,054 Windham Brattleboro Democratic
Virginia “Ginny” Lyons $1,820 Chittenden Williston Democratic
Larry Courcelle $1,805 Rutland Mendon Democratic
Cheryl M. Hooker $1,433 Rutland Rutland City Democratic
Brian “BC” Collamore $1,350 Rutland Rutland Town Republican
Kumulia “Kase” Long $1,110 Chittenden Milton Republican
Meg Hansen $1,075 Bennington Manchester Republican
J.T. Dodge $933 Caledonia Newbury Libertarian
Andrew Perchlik $931 Washington Montpelier Dem/prog
Randy Brock $904 Franklin Swanton Republican
Jon Christiano $760 Addison New Haven Republican
Jane Kitchel $711 Caledonia Danville Democratic
Dawnmarie Tomasi $600 Washington Barre Town Republican
Anthony Pollina $567 Washington Middlesex Progressive/Dem
Ericka Redic $387.00 Chittenden Burlington Republican
Ann Cummings $340 Washington Montpelier Democratic
Alice W. Nitka $50 Windsor Ludlow Democratic
Richard “Dick” Mccormack $25 Windsor Bethel Democratic
James Ehlers No report posted Chittenden Winooski Independent
Christopher Bray No report posted Addison Bristol Democratic
John S. Rodgers No report posted Essex-Orlean Glover Independent
Charles W. Wilson No report posted Caledonia Lyndon Republican
Peter Briggs No report posted Addison Addison Republican
Archie Flower No report posted Addison Hancock Libertarian
Kevin Hoyt No report posted Bennington Bennington Independent
Susan Bowen No report posted Chittenden Shelburne Republican
Tom Chastenay No report posted Chittenden Milton Republican
Kylie Hollingsworth No report posted Chittenden Milton Republican
Dean Rolland No report posted Chittenden Hinesburg Republican
Russ Ingalls No report posted Essex-Orl. Newport City Republican
Jonathan L. Morin No report posted Essex-Orl. Holland Republican
Ron Horton No report posted Essex-Orl. Jay Democratic
Chloe Collins No report posted Franklin Swanton Progressive
Luke Richter No report posted Franklin Alburgh Progressive
Wayne Billado III No report posted Franklin Saint Albans City Independent
Richard “Dick” Mazza No report posted Grand Isle Colchester Democratic/Repub.
Brittany D. Cavacas No report posted Rutland Rutland City Independent
Casey Jennings No report posted Rutland Rutland City Independent
Richard “sensei” Lenchus No report posted Rutland Benson Independent
Greg Cox No report posted Rutland West Rutland Democratic
Dwayne Tucker No report posted Washington Barre Town Republican
Paul Vallerand No report posted Washington Barre Town Independent
John Lyddy No report posted Windham Whitingham Republican
Marcus R. Parish No report posted Windham Rockingham Republican
Tyler Colford No report posted Windham Whitingham Independent
Keith Stern No report posted Windsor Springfield Independent
Mason Wade No report posted Windsor Rochester Independent
Doug Wilberding No report posted Windsor Norwich Independent
Joe Benning No funds raised Caledonia Lyndon Republican
Robert Starr No funds raised Essex-Orl. Troy Democratic
Jack Williams No funds raised Windsor Weathersfield Republican
Brian Campion No funds raised Bennington Bennington Democratic
Dick Sears No funds raised Bennington Bennington Democratic
Phil Baruth No funds raised Chittenden Burlington Democratic/Prog.
Richard A. Westman No funds raised Lamoille Cambridge Repubican/Dem
Mark A. Macdonald No funds raised Orange Williamstown Democratic
Ken Alger No funds raised Washington Barre Town Republican
Jeanette White No funds raised Windham Putney Democratic

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Images courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org and Kesha Ram for State Senate