The low-key Republican primary for governor is about to get a higher profile: Tom Foley’s campaign has purchased about $40,000 of time on three broadcast stations in the Hartford-New Haven market, with the first commercials scheduled to air Monday.

Records on file with the FCC show that Foley’s campaign reserved the time Tuesday, the day before the State Elections Enforcement Commission approved his application for public financing, providing him with a quick infusion of more than $1.35 million.

A spokesman for the elections commission said Foley is free under the law to reserve the TV time before winning approval of public financing so long as he does not incur expenses that exceed the $1.35 million primary grant and the $250,000 in qualifying contributions.

Participants in the voluntary public-financing program must abide by spending limits of $1.6 million for a primary and $6,500,400 for the general campaign.

Foley and his campaign spokesman, Chris Cooper, did not return calls for comment. He also is expected to air the spots on cable television in Fairfield County, which is served by expensive New York broadcast stations. Cable purchases are not tracked by the FCC.

The purchase is relatively modest. The campaign is spending $18,657 on WTNH, Channel 8 in New Haven, $13,945 on WFSB, Channel 3 in Hartford and $7,161 on WTIC, Channel 61 in Hartford.

The spots will be seen on the news on all three stations, plus Jimmy Kimmel on WTNH, an ABC affiliate, and The Arsenio Hall Show on WTIC, which markets itself as FoxCT.

His opponent, John P. McKinney, has applied for public financing and says he is optimistic his grant would be approved next week. McKinney said his campaign is readying its media strategy.

“So when the check clears, we can hit the ‘go’ button,” McKinney said.

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

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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