Supporters of Majority Leader Denise Merrill wore splashes of turquoise Thursday to show support as the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State announced her qualifications for a clean elections grant.
Merrill raised $75,000 in amounts of $100 or less to qualify for the grant. She filed her application with the State Elections Enforcement Commission Thursday afternoon.
After review, the SEEC may grant her $375,000 by July 7 under Connecticut’s new clean elections laws.
“As an early sponsor of the clean elections laws, it is a particular honor to be among the first statewide candidates to put this law in practice,” she said.
Clean elections laws allow for the public financing of election campaigns in an effort to curb the influence of “big money” in campaign financing. Merrill cannot accept money from state contractors or political action committees by accepting the grant.
She faces former New Haven Alderman Gerry Garcia in the Aug. 10 primary. Garcia has yet to reach the $75,000 required for the clean elections grant.
State Rep. Jason Bartlett, Garcia’s campaign manager, said Garcia is more than half way there.
“We’re in the thick of it,” Bartlett said. “I think in two weeks we’ll have it done. He’s not a career politician who has the leverage but he does have the passion from the people. It’ll be a true grassroots effort.”
He said Garcia’s current goal is to match Merrill in terms of campaign resources. If Merrill wins the primary, she may qualify for additional campaign funding.
Merrill also said she received the endorsements of Connecticut’s Service Employees International Union, Connecticut’s American Federation of Teachers, the Connecticut Education Association and Connecticut’s Citizens Action Group.
“I’m energized about the race for Secretary of State and believe now more than ever we need to become involved and work together to create jobs and turn out economy around,” she said.