Obama tightens gap with Romney in Connecticut fundraising

Washington — President Obama narrowed the fundraising gap with his Republican rival, but Mitt Romney continues to lead in the race for campaign cash in Connecticut.

In the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission this week, Romney’s campaign reported raising $8.1 million in the state, while Obama’s campaign raised about $6.3 million.

A few months back — as of June 30 — Romney had raised nearly twice as much money as Obama.

Nationally, the president has the edge in fundraising. As of Sept. 30 donors had given his campaign $556 million and contributed about $340 million to Romney’s campaign.

Obama leads in fundraising from health care, telecommunications and defense industry workers, while Romney leads in money from the financial services and oil and gas industries.

Some of those trends are evident in Connecticut, with those working in Wall Street or the insurance industry donating much more to Romney.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Aetna Insurance Co employees in Connecticut donated $51,280 to Romney and $29,320 to Obama.

At the Hartford Insurance Co., workers gave $4,280 to Romney and $1,750 to Obama.

Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, said Wall Street favors Romney because the former Massachusetts governor had worked in the financial services sector and he “knows a lot of people there.”

The financial services industry is also unhappy about Obama-backed reforms, like the Dodd-Frank bill, and the president’s “beating up” of Wall Street when he blames it for the country’s financial woes, Allison said. “They think they can get a better deal from Romney.”

As far as the nation’s insurers, Allison said they are concerned that Obama may end some tax breaks to their industry or raise taxes for wealthy Americans who purchase some of their financial products.

The fundraising picture is mixed when it comes to workers for the state’s defense contractors.

Although the total amount donated by defense workers in the state was small, about $20,000, Obama was favored 3-1 by workers of Connecticut’s big defense firms, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky and parent company United Technologies Corp. The president also outpaced Romney in donations from workers at Electric Boat.

“I don’t think what Romney is proposing is good for defense,” said Eric Jacobs of Cheshire, who is employed by United Technologies. “Obama has a more appropriate path.”

Michael Joseph of Stratford, who works for Pratt & Whitney, said he donated to Obama simply “because I’m a Democrat.”

Obama wants to cut the defense budget. But Allison said Obama has an advantage with the defense industry because he’s an incumbent and contractors like to curry favor with the person in power — not the person who could be in power.

“They think ‘what do I need from contracts today’ not ‘what do I need from contracts in 2013,’ Allison said.

But Romney led Obama in donations when it came to workers for another company in Connecticut that sometimes works for the Pentagon — General Electric. They have given Romney about $46,000 and Obama about $14,062.

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have held fundraisers in Connecticut in the past few weeks. Whether Obama continues to reduce Romney’s advantage when it comes to political cash will be known in a few days after the candidates file their pre-election reports with the FEC .

But a recent poll indicates Obama has extended his support among voters in the state.

A press release accompanying a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday said, “President Barack Obama buries Gov. Mitt Romney in the run for the White House, leading 55 – 41 percent, compared to 54 – 42 percent October 4.”