CT kicks in nearly $3 million to presidential candidates

Washington – As a group, Republican candidates have the edge in campaign fundraising over Democrats in Connecticut, but individually Hillary Clinton continues to lead the pack with more than $1 million raised in the state.

In all, the latest reports to the Federal Election Commission show Connecticut donors gave nearly $3 million to 21 Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in the first three quarters of this year, ending on Sept. 30.

Bush is trailing Clinton in fundraising, having raised $840,000 to her $1.1 million. But the former Florida governor did better than Clinton in the last quarter. He raised $316,000 to her $302,000 in Connecticut this summer.

Campaign contributions
Contributions made to candidates through Sept. 30, 2015
Candidate Total donations Average donation Number of donations
Hillary Clinton (D) $1,112,703.07 $867.94 1282
Jeb Bush (R) $839,450.00 $1,979.83 424
Bernie Sanders (D) $154,558.52 $133.47 1158
Marco Rubio (R) $127,027.05 $465.30 273
Scott Walker (R) $105,421.00 $1,171.34 90
Chris Christie (R) $101,800.00 $2,213.04 46
Lindsey Graham (R) $80,650.00 $1,344.17 60
Ben Carson (R) $79,659.76 $146.43 544
Ted Cruz (R) $74,127.00 $170.02 436
Carly Fiorina (R) $61,188.00 $527.48 116
Rand Paul (R) $41,098.65 $229.60 179
Martin O’Malley (D) $38,400.00 $1,828.57 21
John Kasich (R) $27,966.00 $1,271.18 22
Lawrence Lessig (D) $17,525.00 $730.21 24
Rick Santorum (R) $16,275.79 $856.62 19
George Pataki (R) $14,350.00 $1,793.75 8
Donald Trump (R) $10,323.60 $516.18 20
James Webb (D) $8,400.00 $840.00 10
Mike Huckabee (R) $4,972.50 $414.38 12
Rick Perry (R) $3,000.00 $1,000.00 3
Bobby Jindal (R) $2,700.00 $2,700.00 1
Federal Elections Commission

Nationally, however, Bush has raised a lot less money than expected, about $13 million, and has had to slash staff salaries and cut campaign expenses in other ways, such as requiring the use of cheaper hotels.

Bush ended the quarter with less cash on hand than fellow GOP candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson.

“I’m hearing that Bush’s supporters are wondering if their money is going down a rat hole,” said University of Connecticut political science professor Ron Schurin. “He was the comfortable establishment candidate that everybody thought would blow every other (Republican) candidate out of the water, and Donald Trump made that go away.”

Bush’s fundraising has slowed as his standing in the polls has dropped. A Real Clear Politics poll released on Sept. 30 put Bush at 9 percent and in 5th place in the Republican ranks.

Nationally, presidential candidates have raised $269.5 million. But that does not include much of the money Trump has raised for his campaign, which has come out of the billionaire developer’s pocket.

Most of the Bush campaign’s Connecticut supporters, and many of Clinton’s, gave their money in high-dollar fundraisers in the state.

Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the GOP’s Carson are benefitting from a grassroots network of small donors. While Bush and Clinton supporters are concentrated in Fairfield County, and to a lesser extent in the New Haven area and West Hartford, Sanders and Carson supporters are more evenly distributed throughout the state.

Sanders has raised nearly $155,000 and Carson nearly $80,000 in Connecticut.

Although fundraising is just starting, the hundreds of Connecticut donors giving money to candidates for the White House indicates the state is already politically engaged.

Schurin said the Republican and Democratic debates will foster more interest in the presidential race and increase the pace of donations.

“The big-ticket fundraisers are all planned,” Schurin said. “But there’s going to be a significant increase in ordinary donors.”

Schurin said Clinton’s performance in this week’s Democratic debate will give the candidate “a bump.”

According to the FEC reports, Bush has great support from the state’s financial and insurance industries.

Meanwhile, Clinton has the backing of the state’s Democratic establishment. Donors to the Clinton campaign include Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, and his wife Mary. Another Clinton supporter was Peter Malkin, the real estate developer whose company portfolio includes the Empire State Building and other prominent New York landmarks and whose son-in-law is Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Clinton also has strong support at Yale University. Much of the nearly $160,000 Clinton raised in the New Haven area came from Yale faculty.

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