In Case You Missed It: VTDIGGER: HOW PATRICK LEAHY’S PREDECESSOR SPENT $17.09 ON HIS LAST CAMPAIGN
By Kevin O’Connor, November 4, 2016

“Sick of all the political ads and paraphernalia that have spurred [Sen. George] Aiken’s successor, Patrick Leahy, to raise nearly $5 million to defend his position this year? Rewind for a moment to the summer of 1968, when the message was scorching but the medium was as simple as some 6-cent postage stamps, a tank of gas and a few phone calls.

“… Aiken shunned pins, bumper stickers, signs and television commercials. Instead, he tried something different in 1968: One week of campaigning. …

“‘As far as I’m concerned, Aiken’s real memory ought to be his work on Vietnam in the Foreign Relations Committee and being a champion for rural America,’ [former Aiken staffer Steve] Terry says. ‘But what that $17.09 means is he was very suspicious of big money in politics. Aiken was always critical of people and corporations who gave large amounts to candidates. On that issue, he was an early version of Bernie Sanders.’…

“[Former State Archivist Gregory] Sanford has added up every penny of Aiken’s campaign spending from his first statewide race for lieutenant governor in 1934 to his last U.S. senate run in 1968. The grand total: $4,423 and 3 cents.

“‘Here’s the quintessential Vermonter who was in office for 50 years of the 20th century, and to achieve all those offices he spent a total of 4,000 bucks,’ Sanford says. ‘It’s less about mythology than a current wistfulness. This may get me in trouble, but Leahy has been in office longer than Aiken — why do you need millions of dollars?