Themis Klarides raised the most, but ended up third in cash on hand due to loans Leora Levy and Peter Lumaj made to their own campaigns. CTMIRROR.ORG
Erin Stewart

Democrat Eva Bermudez Zimmerman and Republican Erin Stewart, both 31-year-old women challenging their party’s convention-endorsed candidates for lieutenant governor, cleared a financial hurdle Wednesday by winning approval of public-financing grants.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission approved grants of $406,275 for Stewart, the New Britain mayor engaged in a three-way primary with state Sen. Joseph Markley and Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, and Zimmerman, a labor organizer challenging Susan Bysiewicz.

Eva Bermudez Zimmerman

They were the last of the statewide candidates facing Aug. 14 primaries to win public financing from the voluntary Citizens’ Election Program, which provides public financing to qualifying candidates. Markley, Stevenson and Bysiewicz already have their grants.

Zimmerman and Stewart each announced their candidacies shortly before the state conventions in May.

“I’m grateful for the groundswell of support we’ve received from everyday voters across Connecticut,” Zimmerman said. “I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Citizens’ Election Program, which makes it possible for less-established candidates like myself to run for public office and represent the needs of our communities.”

Stewart filed her application just five days ago. The last day for approval of grants for a primary is Friday.

“In a very short amount of time, we received tremendous feedback and support from a large cross section of voters who are ready for a new generation of Republican leadership at the Capitol,” Stewart said.

To qualify for a grant in a primary for lieutenant governor, the candidates had to raise $75,000 in small-dollar contributions from eligible donors.

Three Republican gubernatorial candidates — Mark Boughton, Timothy Herbst and Steve Obsitnik — also are participating in the program. They had to raise $250,000 to qualify in return for grants of $1.35 million for the primary.

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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