Legislative candidates get first public financing grants of ’14

The State Elections Enforcement Commission voted Thursday to authorize its first public financing grants of the 2014 campaign: All are for state legislators or challengers for legislative seats. No statewide candidate has been formally approved yet.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Nancy Wyman announced earlier in the week they have raised the qualifying contributions of $250,000 for a public grant of $6,500,400, but their paper work is not yet filed. One of their GOP challengers, Tom Foley, says he also has crossed the $250,000 threshold, but he is undecided about the seeking the grant.

More than 75 percent of legislative candidates are expected to seek public financing, a voluntary program that imposes contribution limits of $100 and spending limits. Grants for the general election are $27,850 for a House race and $94,690 for a Senate race.

Grants for a primary vary, depending on whether the district is dominated by one party or is competitive. The House primary grants are $11,140, or $27,850 if the district is party-dominant. In the Senate, they are $38,990 or $83,550.

To qualify, a House candidate must raise $5,000 and a Senate candidate $15,000. No contribution can exceed $100. Every contribution is accompanied by a donor affidavit card.

Michael Brandi, the executive director and general counsel of the commission, said candidates are expected to turn in 100,000 donor affidavit cards this election cycle. No grants can be approved until every card is examined, and the commission has 40 percent fewer employees than in 2010.

The public grants approved Thursday:

  • Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk.
  • Rep. Tim Ackert, R-Coventry.
  • Emily Wilson of Norwalk, a Republican candidate for the open 142nd House seat being vacated by Rep. Lawrence F. Cafero Jr.
  • Joseph Polletta Watertown, a Democratic candidate for the open 68th House seat begin vacated by Rep. Sean Williams, R-Watertown.
  • Mary Stone of Old Lyme, a Democratic candidate for the open 23rd House seat being vacated by Rep. Marilyn Giuliano, R-Old Saybrook.
  • Rep. Robert Sampson, R-Wolcott.
  • Rep. David Baram, D-Bloomfield.
  • Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton.
  • Rep. Melissa Ziobron, R-East Haddam.

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