Christine Stuart file photo
Former Speaker of the House James Amann on Election night 2008 (Christine Stuart file photo)

Back from vacation in California, former Speaker of the House James Amann called Monday to chime in on the latest campaign finance filings for the 2010 gubernatorial race.

In a phone interview Monday, Amann said he’s only raised about $8,000 during the last three months. Unapologetic about the small amount of money raised, Amann said he is the first ever candidate for governor under the new campaign finance laws.

“I am the guinea pig,” Amann said.

As such, he said it’s hard to compare his campaign committee to the exploratory committees of the other two Democratic candidates and Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

“We’re right in the ballpark with these guys,” Amann said referring to Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy and Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz.

Malloy, Bysiewicz, and Rell are still in the exploratory phase and as such have to abide by a different set of rules than Amann, who has already declared himself a candidate.

In an exploratory committee candidates are allowed to raise a maximum of $375 per individual and as a candidate the maximum Amann can raise is $100 per individual. 

However, if Malloy, Bysiewicz, and Rell make the transition to a candidate committee only the $5 to $100 contributions will count toward the qualifying amount of $250,000.
Candidates who raise $250,000 are then eligible for $1 million in public funds for the primary and $3 million for the general election.

“Right now, I am the only show in town,” Amann said. He said he resigned his position as Speaker of the House, giving up a powerful position in the legislature, in order to run for governor. “Their whole emphasis on raising money is on the taxpayers dime,” Amann said.

Amann said the public shouldn’t even be paying attention to how much money is raised because it’s no longer about fundraising, it’s about qualifying for the state funds. He said his potential Democratic opponents are concentrating on the race “like the old days,” when the amount of money raised mattered.

Bysiewicz and Malloy are also concentrating on boosting their Democratic support for a primary by going around the state and talking to Democratic Town Committee’s. Bysiewicz said Friday that she had visited about 70, while Malloy has visited about 62. Amann’s campaign manager, Jim McMahon, said Friday that Amann has been traveling around the state “solidifying a tremendous amount of support.”