Lauretti, Lembo score big in fundraising debuts
Republican Mayor Mark Lauretti of Shelton and Democratic state Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo each raised about $145,000 in their first months as a candidate or exploratory candidate for governor in 2018, new highs for non-incumbents in the era of public financing in Connecticut.
Democrat Chris Mattei, a former federal prosecutor seeking office for the first time, closely followed the two experienced candidates, raising $118,343 in his first two-plus months as an exploratory candidate.
But Lauretti’s debut with $145,090 was the most impressive: As a declared candidate for governor participating in the voluntary public financing program, he was limited to individual contributions of no more than $100. As exploratory candidates, Lembo, who raised $143,701, and Mattei could accept up to $375.
To qualify for public financing, a candidate for governor must raise $250,000 in contributions of between $5 and $100, and 90 percent of the money must come from Connecticut donors. The public grants for a major-party nominee are about $6.5 million for the general election.
The field of would-be successors to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat who announced on April 13 he would not seek a third term, is a mix of candidates and exploratory candidates. The latter can use their contributions for a range of state offices.
Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, R-Glastonbury, a declared candidate since December, reported raising $66,367, giving him more than $205,000 in qualifying contributions — about 80 percent of his $250,000.
Republican Peter Lumaj reported raising $74,425 for the quarter, bringing the total raised by his exploratory committee to $281,130 since September. Lumaj, who has raised major portions of his funds out of state, has raised little in qualifying contributions.
The finances of Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, a Republican, spanned two committees as he terminated an exploratory committee he opened in January and created a candidate committee on June 8. He raised $65,147 in the quarter: $24,763 through his exploratory committee and $40,384 through his candidate committee.
In total, Herbst now has raised $148,590 since January.
His first quarterly report as a candidate shows total receipts of $92,972. That’s the sum of $52,588 rolled over from his exploratory committee to his candidate committee, then added to the $40,384 he raised in his first weeks as a declared candidate.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a Republican, raised $70,990 in the quarter, bringing his total to $162,151 since November. Steve Obsitnik, another Republican, raised $92,840, bringing his total to $201,567.
Lauretti, Lembo and Mattei were among seven candidates or exploratory candidates who began fundraising in April. The others: Democrat Jonathan Harris, $88,000; Republican David Walker, $72,156; Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim of Bridgeport, $36,165; and Republican Joe Visconti, $2,150.
Harris, Walker and Ganim raised their money as exploratory candidates. Visconti is a declared candidate.
Walker, the former comptroller general of the U.S., filed papers Monday closing his exploratory committee and opening a candidate committee. Dan Drew, the Democratic mayor of Middletown, announced Monday night he will end the exploratory phase of his campaign Wednesday and become a declared candidate.
Collectively, the eight Republicans have raised more than $1.1 million, compared to about $600,000 by the five Democrats.
“It’s astonishing to see the number of people willing to invest in stopping Democrats in a so-called blue state,” said J.R Romano, the state Republican chairman.
“They’re all decent numbers,” said Roy Occhiogrosso, a Democratic strategist on both of Malloy’s successful campaigns.
Occhiogrosso said qualifying for public financing will be the hardest task for the candidates: “The sooner you take that off the table as an issue to worry about, the better off you are.”
|Politician||Party||Status||Raised in Q2||Cash on Hand||Total Raised||Money Spent||Launch Date|
|Peter Lumaj||Republican||exploratory||$74,425||$125,614||$281,130||$155,515||Sept. 6, 2016|
|Mark Boughton||Republican||exploratory||$70,990||$84,299.00||$162,151||$77,872||Nov. 22, 2016|
|Prasad Srinivasan||Republican||candidate||$66,367||$178,854||$205,311||$26,457||Dec. 16, 2016|
|Tim Herbst *||Republican||candidate||$92,972||$80,909||$92,972*
($148,590 through both committees.)
|$12,062||Jan. 11, 2017/ June 8, 2017|
|Dan Drew||Democrat||exploratory||$71,006||$26,393||$177,133||$150,740||Jan. 12, 2017|
|Steve Obsitnik||Republican||exploratory||$92,840||$109,984||$201,567||$92,671||Jan. 13, 2017|
|Mark Lauretti||Republican||candidate||$145,090||$101,622||$145,090||$43,467||Apr. 5, 2017|
|David Walker||Republican||exploratory||$72,156||$46,411||$72,156||$25,744||Apr. 10, 2017|
|Chris Mattei||Democrat||exploratory||$118,343||$54,037||$118,343||$64,306||Apr. 18, 2017|
|Jonathan Harris||Democrat||exploratory||$88,957||$46,925||$88,957||$42,031||Apr. 18, 2017|
|Joe Visconti||Republican||candidate||$2,150||$497||$2,150||$1,652||Apr. 19, 2017|
|Kevin Lembo||Democrat||exploratory||$143,701||$78,583||$143,701||$66,438||Apr. 27, 2017|
|Joe Ganim||Democrat||exploratory||$36,165||$33,085||$36,165||$3,080||Apr. 28, 2017|
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