The same year the legislature tried to take big money out of the campaign system is the same year that pits two Greenwich millionaires against two publicly funded candidates.
And the most recent campaign finance reports, which cover a seven-day period between July 29 and Aug. 4 leading up to Tuesday’s primary, may show just how much money matters.
Democrat Ned Lamont has spent $8.6 million of his own fortune on his campaign with about $1.75 million of that coming on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3. Republican Tom Foley has loaned his campaign a little more than $3 million since ditching his run for U.S. Senate. About $751,000 of that was loaned to the campaign on Aug. 4.
Lamont will face former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, while Foley faces Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, and privately financed candidate R. Nelson “Oz” Griebel.
Lamont’s spending has already set a record. It’s more than Malloy and his opponent New Haven Mayor John DeStefano spent in 2006 combined, and it’s more than the $6.5 million former Gov. John G. Rowland spent on his re-election campaign in 2002.
Under the public campaign finance system, Malloy and Fedele raised $250,000 in small dollar donations and were given $2.5 million in public funds for their campaigns.
But Lamont makes no apologies for the investment he’s made in his campaign, saying he won’t fight with one arm tied behind his back in the general election against his Republican opponent.
Foley, a major fundraiser for former President George W. Bush, has raised $794,520 in contributions from individuals for his gubernatorial bid. About $6,045 came during the period between July 29 and Aug. 4. It’s unclear how much more than the $3 million he’s willing to loan his campaign should he win on Tuesday.
If Malloy or Fedele win Tuesday, they will each receive a $3 million grant.
On Thursday the Senate overrode Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s veto of legislation which could boost the grant to $6 million, but it’s unclear if the House has enough votes to finish the override. At least five Democrats who voted against the measure will have to change their votes Aug. 13 in order to successfully complete override.
Republican lawmakers have said they don’t think it’s a coincidence that the same year public financing went into effect for statewide offices is the same year two millionaires are running. Republicans remain largely against the use of taxpayer dollars for campaigns.
Griebel, who is running against Foley and Fedele, has raised a total of $463,622 from individuals and has loaned his campaign $30,050. Griebel has about $26,336 going into the final few days of the campaign.
A Quinnipiac University poll expected out this morning may shed some more light on where the candidates on both sides stand.
According to the Secretary of the State there are 740,542 Democrats and 409,233 Republicans registered in the state. The 835,277 unaffiliated voters have until Monday to switch their affiliation to one of the two major parties if they wish to vote on Tuesday.