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Vermont's State Capitol. Photo: Photo <a href="">Jim Bowen</a>, CC <a href="">some rights reserved</a>
Vermont's State Capitol. Photo: Photo Jim Bowen, CC some rights reserved

Super PAC money may influence VT elections

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There's not a lot of drama in Vermont elections this year. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic Peter Shumlin are up for reelection and enjoy widespread support. Many incumbents on the ballot are expected to win. But campaign financing by super PACs may influence some election results.

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A super PAC called Vermonters First has spent approximately $800,000 on conservative candidates and causes this election season.

Much of that money has gone to Republican candidate for state Treasurer, Wendy Wilton, who’s running against Democratic incumbent Beth Pierce.

Vermont politics was retail politics--it was chicken suppers and knocking on doors...
"The super PAC has seen openings, places where their message can leverage a difference," said Cheryl Hanna, a professor at Vermont Law School.

She says that super PAC money could move the needle in the Treasurer’s race.

"We're going to see that ability to spend unlimited amounts of money, particularly on broadcast media, really shifting the electorate’s understanding of who’s running and what the issues are."

Hanna says that’s a big change for a small state that’s used to personal politics.

"Up until I think two years ago, Vermont politics was retail politics – it was chicken suppers and knocking on doors and a lot of face-to-face contact between candidates and constituents. But now that has really changed." 

Candidate and polling place information can be found on the Vermont Secretary of State's web site. Polls close in Vermont at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. 

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