Kesha Ram Hinsdale’s closed congressional campaign continues to raise money to pay off debt

Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden, prepares to announce that she is a candidate for the Democratic candidate for Congress during a press conference in Winooski on Jan. 13. She has since dropped out of that race. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden, dropped out of the Democratic primary for Vermont’s lone seat in the U.S. House and endorsed a rival. So why does his congressional campaign continue to raise funds?

“With your help, I will return to my platform as a state senator with many more Vermonters in my corner ready to support my leadership and my voice,” she wrote in an email sent to her list. campaign in Congress last Tuesday, four days after it came out. of the most watched race of this election cycle.

Ram Hinsdale is currently running for re-election to the Vermont Senate. But campaign funds cannot legally be mixed between state and federal races. And federal campaigns are supposed to stop fundraising as soon as a candidate drops out of a race.

Federal campaigns that end are, however, allowed to continue fundraising if they are in debt. And Kate Lapp, who led Ram Hinsdale’s congressional campaign, said the operation still had unpaid bills to pay, mostly to staff.

“I am proud to work for a candidate who truly lives her values. She doesn’t just talk, she walks the talk when it comes to decent pay – even in the campaign world – and prioritizes making sure we take care of our team as we’re stepping off the ramp and transitioning from this campaign,” Lapp said. The campaign employed seven paid staff members, six full-time and one part-time, at the time Ram Hinsdale stepped down.

Lapp declined to say how much the campaign still owed. At first, she said she understood the campaign still had “about $10,000” in outstanding obligations, but said she needed to check with finance staff to make sure the figure was correct. exact.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a number to share. Apologies,” she texted a reporter the next day, adding that the total would eventually become public in Federal Election Commission filings later this summer. “All the figures given yesterday were misinterpreted on my part.”

Ram Hinsdale outperformed its opponents in the first quarter of the year, according to documents filed with the FEC in mid-April. But it also spent that money quickly and had about half the cash on hand than its closest competitors as of March 31. (The next batch of deposits is due July 15 and will cover April through June.)

When Ram Hinsdale pulled out of the race, she endorsed Senate Pro Tempore Speaker Becca Balint, D-Windham, with whom she had maneuvered to secure votes in the party’s left lane. Ram Hinsdale hinted that she feared a split progressive vote would hand the race to Lt. Governor Molly Gray, who was seen as the most moderate of the three top candidates in the race.

“It was what many would call a jump-ball race, a toss-up,” Ram Hinsdale said at the time. “Anyone could pass. Anyone could outsmart or thwart the maneuvers. And I couldn’t live with uncertainty on election day about who would come out on top.

Was lack of money also part of why Ram Hinsdale called him? Lapp first said the campaign had “looked at some data that showed we had to spend a lot of money on our opponents” and that money was “a consideration” but “not a priority”.

But she insisted in a later phone call that money was ‘not a determining factor at all’ in the decision to give up.

“I think Vermont is not a state where the most cash-rich person always wins elections. So the truth remains that we really wanted to not wake up on Election Day morning with uncertainty, and we really wanted to do the right thing,” she said.

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