Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Wednesday became the first statewide candidate to qualify for public financing in 2014 as the State Elections Enforcement Commission approved grants for her and seven legislative candidates.

Merrill, a Democrat unopposed for her party’s nomination for a second term, had to raise $75,000 in qualifying contributions of no more than $100 each. Her grant for the general election is $812,550.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, and one of his Republican challengers, Tom Foley, have filed their applications for public financing, but commission staff needs to audit the cards submitted by every donor attesting they are not an ineligible donor, such as a state contractor.

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.

Candidates awarded the other public grants Wednesday:

  • Rep. Mary G. Fritz, D-Wallingford.
  • Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford.
  • Rep. Gregory Haddad, D-Mansfield.
  • Cynthia Cartier of Guilford, a Republican seeking the open seat in the 98th House District.
  • Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin.
  • Rep. Matthew Ritter, D-Hartford.
  • Gayle Mulligan of Hebron, a Republican seeking the open seat in the 55th House District.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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