Gov. candidates use fundraising to highlight campaigns
HARTFORD — Candidates running for governor in 2018 have until Oct. 10 to file their reports with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, but those who did well already are bragging about their fundraising hauls.
On the Democratic side where there are now six candidates vying for the nomination, former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei has taken the fundraising lead.
Mattei was able to raise $104,540 between the end of July and the end of September. This comes on the heels of his strong first quarter showing when the campaign posted $118,344 for a total of $222,884 raised in just 164 days.
Since he announced his exploratory committee, Mattei said he has attended 129 events in 68 towns — or one event nearly every day.
Mattei said he’s not accepting lobbyist contributions and will make sure any who tried to give to his campaign get their checks back before the official documents are filed.
“When we file our report, it will contain zero donations from lobbyists,” Mattei said. “A few tried, but we returned them because as someone who has spent a career taking on the corrosive influence of money in politics, I believe those who are registered to lobby our elected leaders should not be simultaneously funding the campaigns of those same officials.”
Jonathan Harris, the former West Hartford mayor and commissioner of Consumer Protection, said his campaign raised more than $82,000 between July and September. That brings his two quarters of fundraising up to $170,000.
“As I travel throughout the state, it is unmistakable that the people of Connecticut want an experienced, thoughtful leader who can hit the ground running on day one, to tackle our problems and build a better future for our state and all its residents,” Harris, who was executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party from 2012 to 2014, said. “When I talk with people, I share my commitment to developing practical solutions to respond to the serious challenges we face. And I am tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic response, in big cities and small towns, from Ashford to Westport and communities all across our state.”
Neither Mattei or Harris have filed their reports yet with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
And since both have exploratory committees, any $375 donations won’t be counted toward the $250,000 they need to raise to qualify for the additional state grant.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo decided at the end of August not to seek the gubernatorial nomination and instead will run for re-election . Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman still hasn’t made any announcement about her intentions.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew; Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim; Dita Bhargava, a former trader and hedge fund manager from Greenwich; and Sean Connolly, the former Veterans Affairs commissioner who only announced his campaign earlier this week, have yet to announce their totals or file their reports.
On the Republican side, Glastonbury state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan said he’s raised more than $254,000 for his campaign, which means if he’s nominated by the Republican Party at the convention in May he will be able to receive a state grant of more than $1.4 million for what likely will be a Republican primary.
“I am proud of the support we have behind our campaign,” Srinivasan said. “Having reached over $250,000, we will have the resources needed to run a strong and efficient campaign. Our state faces many challenges, but I know that working together we can revive Connecticut and make it prosper once again.”
There are 10 candidates on the Republican side exploring or running for governor. None of the other candidates have announced their fundraising totals and Srinivasan’s totals have not been formally filed with the SEEC.