Vermont Business Magazine On Monday Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray, a Democratic candidate for Congress, announced her campaign’s first fundraising milestone, reaching over $111,000 in donations in the first week. On Tuesday, a day after she announced she also would seek the seat Peter Welch is giving up to run for US Senate, Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint, also a Democrat, announced she had raised $125,051.
Welch announced November 22 that he would seek the US Senate seat now held by the retiring Patrick Leahy. So far, only those three Democrats have announced their intentions. Leahy's move has resulted in several prized seats becoming available: US Senate, US Representative, Lieutenant Governor and Senate President Pro Tem.
The two women, who worked together in the state Senate, issued statements along with their fundraising accomplishments.
Gray said: “I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of support since launching this campaign one week ago, having strong, early support from every corner of the state gives us the resources to build a truly inclusive campaign that reaches every Vermont community.”
Balint said: “I am astonished and overwhelmed with the level of support we received yesterday. This is a hard time for so many families and the fact that people chipped in where they could means so much to me. This is going to be a campaign powered by people and yesterday showed me just how many people that is. I’m running because we face immense challenges, but I believe we cannot back away from fighting for each other. We have to deliver on some big promises for Vermont working families and that is going to take all of us. I’m ready for this fight.”
Gray’s campaign confirmed that the first $50,000 in contributions came in within 24-hours of launch.
Gina McAllister, a business owner in Reading who donated to Gray’s campaign, said, “Molly is uniquely and superbly qualified to be Vermont’s US Representative.”
Zachary Chen, an attorney from Burlington, said he’s standing with Gray because “Vermonters need someone to fight for them in Washington.”
Bob Demarco, a nurse from Glover added, “I believe Molly represents our best future for fairness and trust.”
“These early donations are just one way our campaign is asking Vermonters to step up and join us. We’re inviting every Vermonter off of the sidelines and onto this team,” added Gray. “Our supporters are already working hard, sharing news about the importance of this race and asking their neighbors to get involved. We aren’t taking anything for granted. We cannot risk sending a Republican to Washington.”
Gray announced her run for the US House of Representatives on Monday, December 6, 2021. In her campaign for Lieutenant Governor, Gray prevailed in a crowded Democratic primary field with 44 percent of the vote. In her general election race against self-funded four-time Republican candidate Scott Milne and three Independents, Gray won with more than 50% of the vote. Gray was sworn in as Vermont’s 82nd Lieutenant Governor on January 7, 2021. If elected in 2022, Gray will be the first woman in Vermont’s history to hold federal office. More information about Gray’s campaign for Congress can be found here.
Julia Barnes, former Executive Director of the Vermont Democratic Party and advisor to the Balint campaign, said: “This is unprecedented, grassroots support that we haven’t seen for a race like this before. Anyone who doubts Becca is capable of putting together a strong people-powered movement are dead wrong. This is what real momentum and excitement about a candidate looks like.”
Balint hosted a grassroots virtual campaign kickoff Monday event with 281 people in attendance. In less than an hour, the event raised $10,302.
Vermonters, friends, and former students from every corner of Vermont took to social media to celebrate Balint’s launch. She also earned several notable endorsements from Vermonters across the state yesterday, including:
State Rep. Barbara Rachelson, Burlington
State Rep. Becca White, White River Junction
State Rep. Kathleen James, Manchester
State Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, Brattleboro
Ann Braden- Author
Curtiss Reed - Executive Director of Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity, and President and CEO of CRJ Consulting Group
Mary Sullivan – Former State Rep. and Vermont National Committeewoman to the Democratic National Committee