Dame Does it Again:
House Candidate Raises 100% of Large Donations From Own District
With the last major filing deadline recently passed Paul Dame, House candidate in Essex Junction has continued a remarkable trend by raising 100% of his large, reportable donations from within his own house district - for the second filing period in a row.
"This says a lot about the people of Essex Junction," Dame replied. "They want a candidate who is financially tied to them and their interests - not to special interests. I couldn't be more proud to represent these people who have showed an amazing level of support. It's one thing to SAY you want to get money out of politics, but it takes integrity and hard work to do it voluntarily within your own campaign."
For the October 15th filing deadline Dame reported ten donors that gave above the $100 limit that requires disclosure. All ten of those donors live and are registered to vote in Essex Junction. Dame is building momentum after his Oct 1st finance report which also had only Essex Junction residents listed on his finance report. No other candidate for House across Vermont has made the same claim.
"It has been a lot of work - but it's been worth it," said Dame. "I even sent back an unsolicited check for $1,000 because this issue of local support was going to be crucial for my campaign. On Wednesday we crossed an important threshold and now have 50.6% of all campaign donations - large or small - have come from right here in Essex! I wish it could be 100% - but with my incumbent opponent receiving up to $1,400 from just one special interest group, I need to stay competitive and could not turn away my friends and other Vermonters who are chipping in with smaller donations."
Dame says much of his support has come in response to his opponent who took a job on the payroll of an organization that lobbied for the Physician Assisted Suicide bill after Seven Days reported on that story earlier this year. Dame has made full, un-edited copies of that story available in recent fund-raising letters.
"Voters are telling me they think it is a conflict of interest." said Dame."You work hard to get a somewhat controversial bill passed and 3 months later you join the payroll? It leaves a bad taste in a voter's mouth. Then at the last filing deadline my opponent gets one donation from her neighbor, but every other major donor is a PAC, lobbyist or special interest group? It's another piece of the puzzle. For those people who want a representative who is going to be more independent, I am presenting a clear choice. My funding comes primarily from here in Essex Junction, and I will be working hard on the issues residents are telling me they want addresses; namely property taxes, health care and good paying jobs. Those are big tasks, we don't have time to get bogged down in some of these side issues that my opponent's donors represent. I want to do things that will help the most number of my constituents - who also happen to be biggest donors - there are no questions about where my loyalty lies."
Dame's self-imposed restriction on fund-raising has left him far more competitive than some critics expected. For the Oct 15th deadline Dame reported $2600 on hand, while his opponent's report indicated a campaign balance of about $2900 available for the final 20 days. There are questions though around his opponent's initial July 15th filing report. It lists $1792.12 in large contributions from a previous filing period, yet it also claims to be the first report of the campaign, and there are no other reports available that show in which filing period that money was raised, nor identifies those donors - as is required by campaign finance law - making the calculation of cash on hand difficult. Dame said Wednesday that he expects to make up the difference in the coming days as responses from his final fund-raising letter had just started arriving the day of the filing deadline.
"I have really been able to impress Democrats and Progressives on this issue." Dame continued. "Many of them feel like their party representatives are getting too cozy with special interests and have abandoned them. So when they hear that a challenger - especially a Republican - is getting most of his large donations from regular voters right here in Essex Junction - they tell me how much they appreciate it. I'm confident that the appreciation they express to me personally will translate in to support at the ballot box."