Decision time for McKinney-Walker on public financing

John P. McKinney and his running mate, David M. Walker. (file photo)

CT Mirror

John P. McKinney and his running mate, David M. Walker, at the convention last month.

The Republican gubernatorial campaign of John P. McKinney is likely to jointly apply next week for public financing with his running mate, David M. Walker, an acknowledgement of McKinney’s difficulty in raising the necessary $250,000 in qualifying contributions.

The joint application would mean forgoing a separate $406,275 lieutenant governor’s grant for Walker, but it provides a quicker path to a gubernatorial grant of $1,354,250 that McKinney and Walker could share for their coordinated GOP primary campaigns.

McKinney and Walker agreed in May to continue to separately fundraise in hopes of each qualifying for grants under the state’s voluntary program of publicly financing state campaigns, setting an internal deadline for deciding if they would pool their qualifying contributions and make a joint application.

“That time has come, and we’re going to lock arms with Dave Walker and try to get the filing done,” said Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, a senior adviser to the McKinney campaign. “The clock is running.”

Walker said Friday his campaign hit the $75,000 qualifying threshold Thursday night to independently qualify for a lieutenant governor’s grant, but he intends to honor the deal he made to merge the campaigns.

“I gave my word to John McKinney, and right before the convention he gave his word to me that we would make a decision this weekend on whether we would merge,” Walker said. “Whether I am qualified or not, I gave my word, and that’s all that’s necessary.”

The joint application is an acknowledgement that time is growing short for McKinney. If he applies by next week, the soonest he could realistically expect the financing would be July 8, exactly five weeks before the Aug. 12 primary.

Tom Foley, the convention-endorsed GOP candidate and front-runner in the primary, hopes to win approval of his grant Wednesday. He has allied himself with no running mate.

The inability to qualify for public financing knocked Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton out of the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination Wednesday.

He conceded he could not meet the $250,000 threshold without the help of a running mate. An alliance with Heather Bond Somers came undone when Somers decided after the convention she was stronger as a free-agent candidate for lieutenant governor.

Somers says she has reached the $75,000 threshold this week and is applying for a grant. The convention-endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor, Penny Bacchiochi, won approval of her grant Wednesday.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission postponed action on Foley’s application this week after its staff was able to validate only $220,977 of his $264,148 as qualifying contributions. Each contribution is accompanied by an affidavit, and contributions can be rejected if the accompanying paperwork is insufficient.

The commission has a weekly deadline of Wednesday for applications. Under state law, it then has two weeks to make an initial ruling on an application.

At the time that McKinney and Walker struck their alliance, they said they would try to qualify separately, but would pool their funds for a joint application if the time came. The commission interpreted the law in 2010 to allow candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to pool their qualifying contributions and jointly apply for one gubernatorial grant.

A candidate for lieutenant governor needs $75,000 in contributions of no more than $100 each to qualify for the $406,275 grant for the primary. A candidate for governor needs $250,000, also in contributions of no more than $100 each, for the grant of $1.35 million.

In the most recent reports, which were filed April 10, McKinney reported raising $180,111. He declared his candidacy on July 23. Walker raised $61,500 in an exploratory committee before creating a candidate committee on April 11.

“John and I both had a very successful week of fundraising,” Walker said. “We had our last fundraiser last evening.”

McKinney and his campaign spokeswoman could not be reached Friday morning for an updated fundraising figure.

The Democratic ticket of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who have no primary, were approved Wednesday for a general-election grant of $6.5 million.

 

 

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