It’s no secret the Republican Party has struggled to raise money in Connecticut, but Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said they ended the year with one of its most successful Decembers in recent history.
According to their report filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the party raised about $46,750 in December. About $4,303 of that was from individuals, with the largest check — $1,000 — coming from Tom Foley, who is one of a handful of Republicans running for governor. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton gave the party about $2,000 in leftover campaign funds from his mayoral race. Boughton announced last week that he is running for the Republican nomination for governor.
Most of the $4,303 from individuals was given to the party in the last week of December.
The most money the party spent was $7,000 on the failed Stamford mayoral race of former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.
Combined with its federal account, the Republican Party had about $16,000 cash on hand at the beginning of the month.
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, had about $668,000 in cash on hand when its federal and state accounts are combined.
But Labriola is not concerned.
He said the vast network of grassroots supporters have been energized by the Republican Party’s victories in the 2013 municipal races. Republicans took top city and town offices in New Britain, Bristol, Ansonia, and Meriden.
But they also had some tough losses in Stamford and Norwalk, both of which were open seats. In Norwalk, Democrat Harry Rilling outpolled Republican Richard Moccia.
The Republican Party spent $7,000 on Fedele in Stamford, $250 each on the races in Bristol and Milford, and $500 on the Norwalk race. About $861.72 was spent on about 13 other municipal races. The party also gave a $2,000 deposit to the Mohegan Sun Casino where it will hold its nominating convention in May.
The other harsh reality for the Republican Party is that it no longer holds the governor’s office. It lost the governor’s seat by just 6,404 votes in 2010 after more than 20 years of Republican governors. It’s always more difficult for the party that’s not in power to raise money.
“Unlike Governor Malloy, we don’t have state contracts to sell for campaign cash,” Labriola said referring to the refunds the Democratic Party has had to make over the past few months to state contractors prohibited from contributing to its state account. “But what we do have is the support of Connecticut’s hardworking families who know we simply can’t afford four more years of Dan Malloy’s failed policies.”
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has not said whether he will seek a second term, but he has been aggressively raising money for the Democratic Party, which, because of a change in campaign finance laws, can now spend unlimited amounts of money on publicly financed candidates.
Last week, the Democratic Party reported that it raised more than $107,000 for its state account, but it had to return $40,000 in donations to four donors, who, for various reasons, were unable to give money to the party.