SEEC approves public financing for special elections

The State Elections Enforcement Commission today approved public-financing grants for five House and Senate candidates in next month’s special elections. Seven candidates now have qualified for grants in the nine legislative races.

Voters go to the polls Feb. 22 in six House and three Senate districts to fill legislative vacancies.

Republicans generally have been opposed to the public financing of campaigns, but they have been quicker to qualify for the public grants in this round of special elections. Five of the seven qualifying candidates are Republicans.

Qualifying today in House races were Republican Noreen Kokoruda and Democrat Joan M. Walker, who are vying for former Rep. Deborah Heinrich’s seat in the 101st House District, and Republican Janet Peckinpaugh, who is trying to succeed former Rep. James F. Spallone in the 36th district.

The House candidates will receive $19,500. To qualify, they had to raise $3,750 in small-dollar donations.

The commission also approve grants for two Republican Senate candidates: Timothy Stewart, who is trying to succeed former Sen. Donald J. DeFronzo in the 6th district, and Robert A. Kolenberg, who hopes to succeed former Sen. Andrew J. McDonald in the 27th district.

The Senate candidates will receive $66,300. To qualify they had to raise $19,500.

The grants and qualifying contriibutions for a special election are 25 percent less than the grants and qualifying contributions in a regular election.

Previously, the commission approved grants in the 99th House District for Republican Linda Monaco and Democrat James Albis, who are trying to succeed former Rep. Michael P. Lawlor. They will receive $19,500.

The deadline for candidates to raise qualifying contributions and file their applications is Feb. 4.