Selectboard Race Attracts Outsized Funding
by Noah Lafaso | Community News Service
February 28, 2022
Candidates for the one-year Selectboard seat – Ethan Lawrence and write-in contender Brian Shelden – have filed a number of campaign finance reports as of Feb. 25th. Each has raised and spent more money than any of the candidates who are vying for the two three-year seats.
The cumulative reports revealed a large disparity in spending between the two candidates. Shelden’s total expenditures of $8,373 are nearly 10 times that of Lawrence’s $844.
Lawrence spent about $427 on miscellaneous printing and $375 on yard signs.
Shelden’s main expenditures were $2,430 on postcards, $1,920 on postage, $1,220 on yard signs, and $1,004 on brochures.
Campaign contributions differ greatly as well. Shelden has received $8,276 in monetary contributions from 58 different donors. Lawrence, on the other hand, has received $993 in total contributions from 15 donors. Only one ($200) donation to Lawrence’s campaign exceeded $100.
The Shelden campaign received 14 donations over $100, from the likes of Chittenden 8-2 District Representative Karen Dolan, former Chittenden 8-1 District Representative Marybeth Redmond, and SunCommon Founder and Waterbury resident Duane Peterson.
Half (7) of his highest contributors are Village residents, all of whom would be constituents of a newly-elected Selectboard for just three months. That is, their residency would expire on July 1st, if the Separation Charter is signed into law this spring as expected. They’ve donated a total of $2,376 thus far.
When asked about their disclosure reports, both candidates provided responses.
“I think it speaks to how strongly the Essex Community felt they needed a positive, civil, and engaged choice other than my opponent.” Shelden said.
“I decided to run a grassroots campaign. I had a ton of supporters who wanted to donate a bunch of money. I only took the money that I needed.” Lawrence said.