Feltes sets record for campaign haul, Volinsky sets record for number of donors, Sununu has more total cash

  • State Sen. Dan Feltes, a Concord Democrat, speaks with the Monitor's editorial board Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. NICK REID

  • Andru Volinsky

For the Monitor
Published: 6/17/2020 2:28:35 PM

In the race for New Hampshire’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination, state Senate majority leader Dan Feltes and executive councilor Andru Volinsky are both setting fundraising records as they battle to face off in November against Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

Feltes, the three-term state senator from Concord, reported Tuesday he has raised $916,000 since declaring his candidacy on September 3 of last year. His campaign said the haul was “record-breaking for any non-incumbent, non-self-funding” gubernatorial candidate at this stage in an election cycle.

The Feltes campaign also said the senator received 4,948 contributions, which was another record.

It could have been a record if not for Volinsky, who shattered that number. He reported contributions from a “record-breaking” 8,332 donors. While Volinsky far surpassed Feltes in the number of contributions, his cash haul lagged behind Feltes. The councilor’s campaign reported raising $467,812 since declaring his candidacy on Oct. 23.

Sununu’s campaign reported raising $1.19 million this election cycle, with $728,632 cash on hand, more than each of his Democratic rivals.

The average donation to the Volinsky campaign was $56.

“I am so very proud of the team effort it took to smash records for the number of donors and to have a campaign presenting the clearest contrast to Chris Sununu,” Volinsky said.

"I'm proud that we're the only campaign to refuse all corporate PAC money, LLC money, and fossil fuel money since day one,” Volinsky added as he took aim at Feltes.

The Feltes campaign pointed out that 89% of their contributions came from New Hampshire, and that 82% of donations were $250 or less.

"I’m so grateful for all the support we’ve received in this campaign. With thousands of contributions from all across the state, it’s clear that Granite Staters are ready for new leadership,” Feltes said.

With under three months to go until the September 8 primary, Feltes has a large cash-on-hand advantage. His campaign reported $480,472 in their coffers, while Volinsky had roughly $110,000 in the bank. The councilor spent almost as much as he raised during the six-month reporting period.

The two Democratic candidates unveiled their fundraising figures on the final day for campaigns and political committees involved in races for state offices to report their numbers to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Sununu, who is enjoying strong approval ratings, is ahead of his 2018 fundraising pace. Two years ago at this time – as he ran for re-election, the governor had raised roughly $1.1 million with $485,000 in his campaign coffers.

The governor’s campaign staff noted Sununu has more focused on leading the state than campaigning or fundraising. 

“Governor Sununu appropriately remains focused on guiding New Hampshire through an unprecedented pandemic and has not had the time, nor interest, in campaigning – he has a job to do,” the campaign said in a statement. “In the coming days, the campaign will kick off and will have the resources to defeat whichever pro-income-taxer wins the Democrat primary.”

With a dearth of polling on the Democratic said of the race, the fundraising figures are one of the few metrics to measure the strength and popularity of the candidates. Campaign cash can be used by the candidates to build up staff and grassroots voter outreach efforts, and to pay to produce and run TV, digital, radio and print ads.

One interesting note – among those contributing to Volinsky was U.S. Senator Angus King.

“I have known and worked with Andru for almost twenty years and have always been impressed by his capability and commitment to the public interest. That’s why I wanted to make a personal contribution to his campaign,” the independent lawmaker from neighboring Maine told the Monitor.

Before winning election to the five-member Executive Council in 2016, Volinsky was best known as the lead attorney for the victorious plaintiffs in the historic Claremont school district funding lawsuit two decades ago. Before winning election to the state Senate in 2014, Feltes was a legal aid attorney for New Hampshire Legal Assistance, spending nearly a decade representing low-to-middle income Granite State families, seniors, veterans, and victims of domestic violence.

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