Political candidates across the state are pounding pavement, making phone calls and saturating media channels today as they look to get out the vote in advance of Tuesday’s primary election.
The gubernatorial candidates, along with the super PACs and outside spenders working on their behalves, are making the most visible late-race pushes.
Democratic candidate for governor Matt Dunne is hosting an afternoon event in Burlington, where his highest-profile supporter, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver, will make the case for the former Google executive.
Democrat Sue Minter has a Burlington event of her own, where former Govs. Madeline Kunin and Howard Dean will sing the candidate’s praises. Democrat Peter Galbraith, meanwhile, will spend the afternoon canvassing in Burlington before heading to Waitsfield this evening for a get-out-the-vote “kickoff rally” with Waitsfield Democrats.
Republican candidate for governor Phil Scott is taking his “High Road to Victory” tour to St. Albans, South Burlington, Rutland, Barre and Morrisville before heading to the Boyden Farm in Cambridge for a fundraiser tonight. And Republican Bruce Lisman is rallying the faithful at his campaign headquarters in Williston.
The most evident sign of tomorrow’s election, however, will come in the form of television, radio and online ads that will be bombarding prospective voters in the 24 hours before Vermonters head to the polls.
A super PAC, called Vermonters for Strong Leadership, has spent $120,000 in the final days of the campaign to pay for TV ads supporting Minter’s candidacy. The same group also dropped $4,000 on robo-calls, according to a recent disclosure.
A second pro-Minter super PAC appeared on the scene this week – the Vermont Conservation Victory Fund – and paid $5,000 for online ads in support of Minter.
Silicon Valley billionaire Reid Hoffman is trying to give Dunne a late-race boost with a $220,000 ad buy that began airing over the weekend.
Candidates themselves are working the airwaves as well. Lisman has spent $41,000 in recent days to run ads on 13 radio stations, five newspapers and two television networks. Galbraith bought up $20,000 worth of TV ads for the run-up to Tuesday. And Scott’s campaign spent $11,000 in recent days on robo-calls and postcards.
Candidates in the three-way contest for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor have far less capital at their disposal, but are also revving up outreach and ground games heading into Tuesday’s vote.
House Speaker Shap Smith has spent about $16,000 on radio and Facebook ads in the final days of the race, while Chittenden County Sen. David Zuckerman has bought $6,000 worth of radio ads and mailers.
Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram’s most recent mass-media disclosure indicates her campaign spent $60,000 on mailers back on July 22.