BENNINGTON -- Town Meeting day is behind us, spring is allegedly here, and Select Board candidates who spent more than $500 on their campaigns have reported it to the Vermont Secretary of State.
Two of the six people running for the pair of open three-year seats had to file: Rachael Fields, and Michael Keane.
Donations made by the Working Families party, which is based in Montpelier, to Fields' campaign caused a minor brouhaha during the race. Keane, who ultimately won one of the two seats up for grabs, seemed to be critical of Fields' campaign for accepting donations from out-of-town. He made a number of Facebook posts about it and on election night expressed satisfaction that Fields received fewer votes than himself and incumbent Justin Corcoran, who was reelected.
According to Fields' campaign finance disclosure form, which was completed March 14, The Vermont Working Families contributed to her campaign in the form of postcards sent to voters, for a total value of $1,899. She received $300 from Mark Mitchell, of Barre, and $108 from Steve Howard, of Burlington, for "copies."
Fields' total contributions, counting in-kind and cash donations, totaled $2,457. Her campaign spent $109, mostly on signs and reimbursements for supplies.
Keane, according to his expense report, contributed $1,370 to his own campaign. He used all of that money for lawn signs, stickers, and rack cards which he had made by GVH Studio, a company owned by sitting board member Greg Van Houten.
Finance reports have to be filed within 14 days of the election according to state law. Town Clerk Tim Corcoran, who had been on the board for 21 years prior to becoming a state representative for a lengthy period, remarked that a board candidate receiving money from out of town entities, while far from illegal, was unusual for Bennington.
Fields received 799 votes, Keane 964, and Justin Corcoran 1,056. Fields, Keane, and Peter J. Brady Sr., who got 608 votes, ran perhaps the most visible campaigns. All, including Mike Bethel, a quasi-perennial candidate who received 463 votes, appeared in local media such as the Banner, WBTN, and Catamount Access Television. Frank Dawson, who received 77 votes, did not appear to campaign beyond a single interview with the Banner.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.