Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti are teaming up in the race for the Republican nomination for governor and lieutenant governor.
Boughton declined to dwell on Heather Bond Somers’ decision Thursday to move forward in the race for lieutenant governor on her own. Instead, Boughton taped an episode of “Face the State” and told Dennis House that he will be teaming up with Lauretti.
Boughton, who had been able to raise about $150,000 on his own, had been counting on teaming up with Somers and combining their finances to achieve the $250,000 needed to qualify for public financing. Somers had raised about $64,000 through the end of March on her way toward the $75,000 public financing goal.
Leading up to last weekend’s Republican convention the two were inseparable going out and fundraising for each other’s campaigns and door knocking.
— Team Boughton (@TeamBoughton) April 21, 2014
Following Somers’ announcement Thursday, there were some contributors to her campaign who were feeling buyer’s remorse.
Several people who contributed thinking she would be running with Boughton have asked for refunds on their donations.
“I think some of those people will be disappointed by the news,” Heath Fahle, Boughton’s campaign manager, said.
A state Elections Enforcement Commission spokesman said campaigns have “a lot of discretion” when it comes to associating or disassociating with contributors. So the question about whether to give back donations will rest largely with Somers.
Dick Foley, the former Republican Party chairman who is advising Somers, said they have attorneys looking into the issue. He said he understands the donors’ disappointment and “we’re trying to figure it out.”
Somers and Boughton never signed a contract saying they would merge their finances even though the two teamed up in January.
During his taping on “Face the State” Boughton said he didn’t think he needed a document.
“I’m sort of old school when you shake hands and look someone in the eye and agree to do something, I believe in keeping your word . . . Does it say something about her about her character, I’ll let her actions be a judge of that and I’ll let the people be a judge of her actions,” Boughton told House.
Lauretti surprised insiders with his ability to raise more than $100,000 in his first three months in the race. However, he won’t be able to keep that money because he’s switching races.
Essentially, he will have to return those donations and give donors an opportunity to cut his lieutenant governor campaign a check. But he won’t be able to do any of that until he qualifies for the ballot.
In order to gain ballot access, Lauretti will need to gather signatures of more than 8,190 Republican voters by June 10. Those signatures will need to be verified by the local registrar of voters in the various communities where the signatures are gathered.
It’s a more complicated task than the 7,500 signatures third-party candidate Jonathan Pelto needs to get on the ballot. Pelto can ask any registered voter for a signature and he has until Aug. 6 to gather them.
Lauretti and Boughton will need to gather even more signatures of just Republican voters in a shorter period of time. They will have 18 days to gather the required signatures.