Susan Bysiewicz mark pazniokas /
Susan Bysiewicz mark pazniokas /

Susan Bysiewicz’ shift Tuesday from a Democratic gubernatorial candidate to Ned Lamont’s running mate creates a significant complication in her quest for public financing of her campaign: The money she raised for governor cannot be easily switched to a bid for lieutenant governor.

Bysiewicz’ campaign staff intends to meet Thursday with officials of the State Elections Enforcement Commission to talk about what to do with the $148,438 she transferred from her exploratory committee after becoming a gubernatorial candidate on April 3.

The answer may be to refund the money from her gubernatorial committee, then re-solicit the donors to give to her new campaign for lieutenant governor.

Connecticut has a voluntary system of publicly financing campaigns. Bysiewicz is participating, while Lamont has opted out and is largely self-funding his campaign. They may be running mates, but until they win the Democratic nominations in the primary, their campaigns are financially independent of each other.

In primaries, voters vote separately for candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. In November, they run as a team and voters cast one vote for a ticket of governor and lieutenant. There is no separate public financing grant for lieutenant governor in the general election.

Bysiewicz raised $290,417 in her exploratory campaign, which can legally accept maximum contributions of $375.

To qualify for public financing for governor, a candidate must raise $250,000 in contributions of no more than $100. When she closed her exploratory, Bysiewicz reported raising $160,000 in qualifying contributions.

She only needs $75,000 to qualify for public financing for lieutenant governor. The grant for a primary for lieutenant governor is $375,000, compared to $1.25 million for governor. The general election grant for the gubernatorial ticket is more than $6 million.

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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