A ferocious ground game over the past four days has the chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party feeling confident this evening about his party’s prospects in the two lone races over which Democrats had been sweating.
Volunteers have given up more than 3,000 hours of their time since Friday to make calls on behalf of incumbent treasurer Beth Pearce and candidate for auditor Doug Hoffer. Perkins says volunteers and VDP staff made 13,000call attempts to voters during that time period, bringing the total for the cycle to a pretty astounding 450,000.
“And that doesn’t include any robo-calls,” VDP communications director Ari Wengroff says.
Perkinson said polling data from earlier in the cycle is “pretty stale” at this point, but that he expects the field organziation and aggressive campaigning from Pearce to have increased the small lead she held over Republican Wendy Wilton when the survey was conducted.
“I haven’t seen anything that would diminish the appeal of Beth Pearce, and I think in the last two weeks she came out strong and pointed out some deficiencies in her opponent,” Perkinson said. “Her profile has increased in a positive way, so I think the lead she had in the polls, especially when identified as a Democrat, is likely to carry through to tonight.”
Given the strength of the Democrat’s ground game, Perkinson thinks the ‘D’ next to Hoffer’s name will help him out as well. Hoffer faces off against a 32-year veteran of the Vermont Senate in Republican Vince Illuzzi, who swept the newspaper endorsements and was generally regarded as an all-around better campaigner.
The candidates raised and spent about the same amount of money in the race, though a conservative super PAC ran TV and web ads on Illuzzi’s behalf.
“I think (the auditor’s) a race where you’ll see the candidate benefit from his identification with Democrats,” Perkinson said.