It’s not even Thanksgiving 2016 yet and the first candidates for statewide office in 2018 are filing their paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who has unsuccessfully vied for statewide public office in the past, said there’s little time to waste if he’s going to raise the $250,000 in small contributions he needs to access public financing.
Boughton said his goal is to raise the money he needs for public financing by January 2018. He said if he hasn’t secured the $250,000 he needs by the convention in May 2018 then he won’t run.
In 2014, Boughton suspended his campaign after the convention when he figured that he would not be able to raise the money he needed to receive public financing after losing his running mate for lieutenant governor, Heather Somers. In 2010, Boughton stepped out of the governor’s race to become Republican Tom Foley’s running mate.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Boughton said he may release policy papers or comment on issues in 2017, but he’s mainly focused on fundraising. If he reaches the $250,000 threshold he will receive $1.25 million for a primary and more than $6.5 million for a general election, under the current Citizens Election Program.
It’s possible the General Assembly may increase the dollar amount or otherwise change the rules of the program in 2017.
The Republican Party hasn’t won a statewide election in Connecticut since 2006, but the party is hoping the gains made in both the state House and the Senate this year will foreshadow good news for snatching up one of the constitutional offices. Preferably, the governor’s office, which they lost in 2010 to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, and Sen. Rob Kane, R-Watertown, each have filed paperwork establishing their statewide exploratory committees. Peter Lumaj, the Republican who ran in 2014 for Secretary of the State, has also filed paperwork.
Connecticut’s Democratic Party was quick to respond to the formation of Boughton’s exploratory committee.
“For years, Mark Boughton has been the embodiment of hypocrisy. He has been all too eager to embrace the state’s policies when they benefit his own politics in Danbury, yet he has criticized the same policies when they created jobs in other areas of the state and didn’t personally benefit him,” Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Mandell said. “Rhetorically, Boughton has recently attempted to claim high ground when it was politically expedient for him, yet he has peddled in identity politics in the past, bashing immigrants to benefit his re-election campaign. Track records are important, and Boughton’s is one of flippant changes to positions and postures. “
It’s unclear if Malloy, who is almost three years into a second term, will seek a third.