GOP’s po­lit­i­cal new­com­ers have deep pock­ets

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris­tine Stu­art

Two Repub­li­can new­com­ers with back­grounds in busi­ness are mak­ing large con­tri­bu­tions to their own cam­paigns.

David Stern­er­man, who told in­vestors he’s shut­ting down his hedge fund by the end of the year to run for gover­nor, do­nated $1.8 mil­lion to his cam­paign.

He also raised a $1,000 do­na­tion from Henry Schaf­fer, of Trum­bull, his cam­paign trea­surer, who works for Vegy Vida LLC, an Ohio com­pany that man­u­fac­tures dip to get kids to eat their veg­eta­bles.

Stern­er­man’s cam­paign web­site is not set up and the email ac­count listed on his State Elec­tions En­force­ment Com­mis­sion fil­ings does not ex­ist. At­tempts to reach his cam­paign went unan­swered. Ac­cord­ing to his fil­ing with the SEEC, Stern­er­man hasn’t spent any money, but he’s in­curred some ex­penses.

His fil­ing shows he will spend about $10,972 on con­sult­ing with Pre­ci­sion Cam­paign Group and Clark Hill, a Washington law firm spe­cial­iz­ing in cam­paign fi­nance.

Bob Ste­fanowski, a Madi­son busi­ness­man and for­mer UBS ex­ec­u­tive who was able to raise $65,000 from in­di­vid­u­als dur­ing his first fundrais­ing quar­ter, also loaned his cam­paign $250,000.

With the money, he’s al­ready paid $16,700 for polling and $4,500 in rent for his cam­paign head­quar­ters. He spent more than $2,900 at the Hil­ton in Stam­ford for a briefing on the polling in­for­ma­tion. He has in­curred about $18,000 in ex­penses that have yet to be paid by the com­mit­tee.

Self-funded can­di­dates from both par­ties have done poorly in Con­necti­cut in re­cent years.

Repub­li­can Tom Fo­ley, who spent more than $12 mil­lion of his own money in 2010 for what was an open seat at the time, came close. But he was un­able to pull off a vic­tory.

That same year, Ned La­mont of Green­wich spent $8.6 mil­lion of it his own money in a pri­mary against Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy, who was the first gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date to qual­ify for pub­lic fi­nanc­ing.

Fo­ley tried to un­seat Mal­loy again in 2014 as a pub­licly fi­nanced can­di­date, but failed.

Linda McMa­hon, who spent about $100 mil­lion of her own money in two races for a U.S. Se­nate seat in Con­necti­cut, was also un­suc­cess­ful.

Most of the other can­di­dates ex­plor­ing a run for gover­nor are us­ing the Cit­i­zens Elec­tion Pro­gram, which re­quires them to raise $250,000 in small do­na­tions in ex­change for a $1.4 mil­lion pri­mary grant and a $6.5 mil­lion gen­eral elec­tion grant.

On the Repub­li­can side, Mike Han­dler, the direc­tor of ad­min­is­tra­tion for the City of Stam­ford, has raised $114,000. He an­nounced his cam­paign in July.

“Our mes­sage is res­onat­ing with Con­necti­cut fam­i­lies who want to hear about real so­lu­tions to our mount­ing fi­nan­cial cri­sis,” Han­dler said.

Steve Ob­sit­nik, of West­port, raised $63,690 from in­di­vid­u­als this quar­ter, bringing his to­tal up to around $265,000. How­ever, he’s spent more this quar­ter — $65,000 — than he raised. But he still had about $109,000 in cash on hand at the end of the quar­ter.

Peter Lu­maj, who is ru­mored to be con­sid­er­ing a race for at­tor­ney gen­eral rather than gover­nor, raised $92,439 this quar­ter to bring his to­tal fundrais­ing up to $373,569. Not all of that money will count to­ward the $250,000 if he de­cides to an­nounce a run for gover­nor.

Rep. Prasad Srini­vasan, R-Glas­ton­bury, the first Repub­li­can to hit the fundrais­ing goal for par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Cit­i­zens Elec­tion Pro­gram, has raised $255,000 and has only spent about $33,000 of it. That leaves him with about $222,316 to win over del­e­gates to the Repub­li­can Party’s con­ven­tion in May.

Can­di­dates who are able to re­ceive their party’s nom­i­na­tion and have reached the $250,000 thresh­old will qual­ify for a $1.4 mil­lion pri­mary grant.

David Walker, the for­mer Comptroller Gen­eral for the United States and 2014 lieu­tenant gover­nor can­di­date, was able to trans­fer about $45,000 over from his ex­ploratory com­mit­tee to his of­fi­cial gu­ber­na­to­rial com­mit­tee. He raised $118,445 this quar­ter, which brings his fundrais­ing to­tal up to about $194,600 since the start of his cam­paign.

Shel­ton Mayor Mark Lau­retti was able to raise $84,580 from in­di­vid­u­als this quar­ter to bring his to­tal up to $229,670. He still had about $156,918 in cash at the end of the re­port­ing pe­riod.

Dan­bury Mayor Mark Boughton had a brain tu­mor re­moved dur­ing the re­cent fundrais­ing quar­ter. He was still able to raise about $33,790 in con­tri­bu­tions. That brings his to­tal up to around $195,000 since an­nounc­ing al­most a year ago.

Trum­bull Mayor Tim Herbst raised $48,197 this past quar­ter. He was able to carry over about $52,000 from his ex­ploratory cam­paign, and raised about $195,000 to­tal for his cam­paign. .

Sen. Toni Boucher, RWil­ton, who is the only fe­male on the Repub­li­can side seek­ing the nom­i­na­tion, raised about $43,336 from in­di­vid­u­als to bring her to­tal fundrais­ing up to $58,890.

Joe Vis­conti, of West Hart­ford, raised $270 from in­di­vid­u­als this quar­ter, but has al­ready spent more money than his cam­paign has raised. His cam­paign raised $2,420 and has spent $2,400, ac­cord­ing to an amended re­port filed Wednesday morn­ing. That would leave him $21.69 in the black ex­cept his cam­paign has $114.87 in out­stand­ing ex­penses so it es­sen­tially means he’s run­ning a $93.18 deficit.

Micah Welin­tuko­nis, of Coven­try, who is an un­af­fil­i­ated can­di­date raised $1,740 this quar­ter bringing his to­tal up to $5,560.

On the Demo­cratic side, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew stum­bled last month when it was re­vealed that he so­licited city em­ploy­ees for do­na­tions. He raised $53,780 this quar­ter and has al­ready spent about $33,500 of it. He’s in­curred some un­paid ex­penses leav­ing him es­sen­tially with about $8,687 at the end of the re­port­ing pe­riod. His burn rate, which is the rate at which he’s spend­ing the money he has raised, is the high­est among all the can­di­dates.

Drew, who has raised about $231,690 since an­nounc­ing his cam­paign last Jan­uary, is the only can­di­date who has an­nounced a run­ning mate — Rep. Liz Line­han, of Cheshire. Can­di­dates for lieu­tenant gover­nor run sep­a­rate from gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates un­til after the pri­mary, so it’s pos­si­ble one or the other won’t even make it to that phase of a cam­paign.

Line­han has raised $1,120, but she’s al­ready in­curred more ex­penses than that. Ac­cord­ing to her fil­ing she in­curred more than $3,650 on some of the same con­sul­tants Drew is us­ing in his race.

Bridge­port Mayor Joe Ganim, who is chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sion that pro­hibits him from us­ing the Cit­i­zens Elec­tion Pro­gram, raised $109,720 from in­di­vid­u­als and has spent about $57,700 of that since an­nounc­ing his ex­ploratory com­mit­tee in April.

Dita Bhar­gava the for­mer Wall Street trader and fund man­ager with a de­gree in elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing, an­nounced that she raised more than $53,000 in just 18 days.

Jonathan Har­ris, the for­mer West Hart­ford mayor and Com­mis­sioner of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion, said his cam­paign has raised over $82,000 be­tween July and Septem­ber. That brings his to­tal up to $170,000 for two quar­ters of fundrais­ing.

Chris Mat­tei, the for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor, was able to raise $104,540 be­tween the end of July and the end of Septem­ber for a to­tal of $222,884 raised in just 164 days.

Jacey Wy­att ,of Bran­ford, raised $377 this quar­ter, bringing her to­tal up to $1,117.

Sean Con­nolly an­nounced his ex­ploratory com­mit­tee after the fundrais­ing pe­riod ended so his first re­port won’t be avail­able un­til Jan­uary. This article has been mod­i­fied from its original ver­sion. To see original ver­sion visit ct­

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