Malloy qualifies for public financing, while Lamont chooses a running mate

The chief rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor are about to hit different milestones as Dannel P. Malloy qualifies for public financing and Ned Lamont names a running mate.

Malloy will announce Sunday that he has become the first gubernatorial candidate to qualify for public financing under the voluntary Citizens’ Election Program.

Lamont intends to name Mary Glassman on Monday as his choice for a running mate, according to political sources who spoke to Lamont and Glassman.

The announcements are intended to bolster the appeal of each candidate to the delegates who will endorse a nominee at the Democratic convention May 22.

For Malloy, the acknowledged front-runner for the convention endorsement, qualifying for public financing addresses the biggest question about his candidacy: Will he have the resources to run?

By qualifying, Malloy will get a minimum of $1.25 million for the primary and at least $3 million for the general election. Depending on spending by his opponents, those grants could be doubled to $2.5 million and $6 million.

Public financing of $8.5 million would give him more money than previous candidates for governor, but less than what the independently wealthy Lamont is expected to spend.

Lamont has opted out of the program, as has the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Tom Foley, who also is a wealthy businessman.

Recently filed campaign finance reports indicate that Malloy could be the only candidate to qualify for public financing. A candidate for governor needs to raise $250,000 in qualifying contributions of $100 or less.

Legislators said Saturday that Malloy’s qualifying for public financing is an important step for a public-financing program that was created in 2005 and was first available in the legislative races of 2008.

Some politicians had questioned if anyone could qualify.

“If Malloy can get there without being ahead in the polls, but by going out and talking to people and working it, that shows it works,” said Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain.

The choice of Glassman, the first selectwoman of Simsbury, potentially creates an odd story line in the race: She was Malloy’s choice in 2006 to be his running mate.

Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run together in the general election, but they run separately in primaries.

Malloy won the convention endorsement, then narrowly lost a primary to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. Glassman won her primary, beating DeStefano’s choice of Scott Slifka.

Lamont will introduce her as his running mate at a press conference in New Britain, where Glassman grew up. He and Glassman began telling supporters Saturday.

“I got the call this morning” from Glassman, said Rep. Kathy Tallarita, D-Enfield, a Glassman supporter.

She already has spoken to delegates who will now commit to Lamont based on his choice of Glassman.

Glassman has been running since February as an exploratory candidate for governor.