Dan Malloy became the first gubernatorial candidate to qualify for funding from the Citizens’ Election Program.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission voted Thursday afternoon to give the Malloy campaign $2.18 million to match the $2.27 million his Democratic opponent, Ned Lamont has raised.

Malloy received more than the $1.25 million because Lamont’s fundraising “exceeds the applicable primary election expenditure limit by almost 70 percent,” an Elections Enforcement press release said. “In total the Malloy campaign will receive almost $2.2 million immediately and could receive an additional $312,500 for the primary election in matching funds based on spending in the race.”

“Meeting the required thresholds to receive a grant isn’t easy,” said Beth Rotman, Director of the Citizens’ Election Program “but the fact that the Malloy campaign was able to achieve these thresholds and qualify for a grant proves that it can be done at the statewide level.”

Rotman noted that the Malloy campaign can now focus on communicating with voters on issues of importance, absent the influence of special interests and without the stress of perpetual fundraising.

It could easily be said that today was a good day for the Malloy, who saw its numbers in the Rasmussen poll improve by 6 points since an earlier poll in May. In a match-up against Tom Foley, the Republican party’s nominee, Malloy would win with 44 percent of the vote to Foley’s 35 percent.

The poll also found that Foley would beat Lamont 38 to 36 percent if the election were held today. In early May, Lamont led Foley 42 percent to 35 percent.  Lamont still leads Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele 43 percent to 34 percent.