Record Number of Gubernatorial Candidates On Track To Secure Financing
(UPDATED 1:30 p.m.) HARTFORD, CT — A handful of candidates in the Republican and Democratic Party who are vying for their party’s nomination for governor have reached or almost reached the threshold for public financing.
However, in order to secure that additional financing they have to first receive 15 percent of the delegates to their party’s convention in early May or they have to collect signatures of two percent of the members of the party between May 1 and June 12 to get on the primary ballot.
Once they secure a spot on the ballot then they’re eligible to receive a state grant of $1.25 million.
Based on the latest fundraising reports on the Republican side Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, Steve Obsitnik, David Walker, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton have raised the requisite amount of money to access the grant if they’re nominated.
On the Democratic side Jonathan Harris, the former Consumer Protection Commissioner, might be close having raised $232,000, but it’s hard to tell since he’s still in the exploratory phase of the campaign where donors can contribute up to $375.
The only contributions that count toward the $250,000 threshold are those $100 or less.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew who struggled with fundraising and had more unpaid expenses than he had cash on hand at the end of the most recent report dropped out of the race Friday.
The latest reporting period started on Oct. 1 and ended on Dec. 31.
Greenwich Republican David Stemerman, who hasn’t been making the rounds to the Republican Town Committee meetings to shake hands with delegates, loaned his campaign $1.8 million.
Stemerman hasn’t participated in the past two Republican Party sponsored debates and doesn’t have a website yet. However, according to his recent report he’s managed to spend $224,000 of the $1.8 million he loaned his campaign. Most of the money went toward polling and consultants from outside of Connecticut.
Stemerman paid Precision Campaign Group of Virginia $47,775, Strategic Perceptions, a Hollywood based advertising firm $22,300, and Public Opinion Strategies LLC $47,000 for a poll.
He did receive about $21,000 in individual donations. The most a donor can give to an individual who isn’t participating in public financing is $3,500.
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim also isn’t participating in public financing, but it’s not by choice. A federal court judge said his corruption conviction bars him from the program.
Ganim has been able to raise just shy of $200,000 in the exploratory phase of his campaign. At the end of his exploratory period he had about $99,000 of cash available.
Former Democratic Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz has also expressed an interest in running for governor. Bysiewicz who is expected to make an announcement soon has raised more than $146,000 and at least $105,000 of that would count toward the $250,000 threshold.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin who is exploring a run was able to raise $113,710 in less than a month. Dita Bhargarava, the former vice chair of the Democratic Party, was able to raise a total of about $125,000, and about $71,800 in the recent quarter. Sean Connolly, the former commissioner of Veterans Affairs, was able to raise $90,830 in the exploratory phase before switching over to a candidate committee earlier this week.
Guy Smith of Greenwich, another Democrat who entered the race this week, isn’t participating in the Citizens Election Program and plans to raise funds outside of the program.
“We’re going to raise money from who wants to support us,” Smith said.
R. Nelson ‘Oz’ Griebel, the former director of the MetroHartford Alliance, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate, loaned his campaign $10,000 and was able to raise $3,600.
Griebel and his running mate Monte Frank are seeking to petition their way onto the General Election ballot.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated since the original with Dan Drew and Liz Linehan’s decision to end their campaign for Governor and Lt. Governor.