CT congressional incumbents flush with campaign cash

Washington – In the last days of his race against Republican Dan Debicella, Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, has dipped into his campaign fund to donate $203,223 to the Democratic State Central Committee so it could help other Democrats in the state.

The money to the central committee’s federal fund can be used for activities, such as get-out-the-vote efforts, that will benefit Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other Democratic candidates.

Himes’ donation is possible because he, like other Connecticut Democratic congressional incumbents, has outpaced his GOP challenger in attracting political cash.

According to pre-election filings with the Federal Elections Commission, as of Oct. 15 Connecticut’s Democratic members of the House of Representatives raised $9.4 million in this election cycle, while their Republican rivals raised about $3.1 million, most of it by two of the five GOP candidates.

Himes had raised $2.6 million in this election cycle.

Debicella raised about $1.1 million, impressive for a challenger, but still less than half of what his Democratic opponent amassed in his war chest.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty,D-5th District, who is fending off a challenge from Republican businessman Mark Greenberg, raised the most in the delegation, a little more than $2.6 million.

Greenberg raised about $1.9 million, but all but about $300,000 was in the form of personal loans to his campaign.

Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, raised about $1.7 million and spent $1.2 million to ward off GOP challenger Matthew Corey, who raised less than $25,000.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, raised about $1.2 million while her Republican challenger, James Brown, was able to attract only $14,000 in donations.

The difference in the pace of fundraising between the state’s congressional delegation and their Republican rivals also can be clearly seen in the latest FEC filings.

DeLauro, for instance raised $31,969 in the 15 days between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 covered in the latest FEC reports, Brown raised $640 in that period.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, raise the least money among the congressional incumbents.

But even he raised $1.3 million, dwarfing the $88,000 raised by his Republican opponent, realtor Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh.

The Center for Responsive Politics said incumbents – in the House and Senate – have an “enormous financial advantage” over challengers.

“That’s one of the reasons re-election rates are so high—incumbents generally don’t have to work as hard to get their name and message out,” the center said.

The center said that, at this point in the campaign cycle, the incumbents have raised an average of about $1.4 million and the average challenger $220,000.

 

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