ctnewsjunkie file photo
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT — Democratic incumbents U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty have raised record amount of cash for their 2018 re-election campaigns.

Murphy announced he raised $2 million in the second quarter of 2017 and ended the reporting period with $5.1 million on hand.

In the first six months of the year, Murphy has raised half what he raised during the entirety of his first Senate campaign in 2012.

Contributions of $100 or less made up 93 percent of the 89,763 donations received so far this year, and robust grassroots support means more than 99 percent of his supporters are able to give again.

“I’ve never seen anything like the passion on the ground in Connecticut right now,” Murphy said.

He said residents are concerned about the direction Congress is taking the county.

Murphy was first elected in 2012 after long-time incumbent Joe Lieberman announced in January 2011 that he would retire from politics rather than seeking a fifth term.

The only Republican, so far, who has said he will be opposing Murphy in 2018 is Dominic Rapini, a Branford resident.

Rapini “just manually” filed his second quarter report showing $1,500 in donations, according to Carlton Higbie, who is handling all of Rapini’s communications.

“Dominic also has put $30,000 of his own money into the campaign,” Higbie added. Rapini, who is an executive for Apple, will be spending the next several months “building his fundraising team,” according to Higbie.

“We expect to hit a million dollars by the end of the year,” Higbie said.

Higbie said Rapini is not intimidated by Murphy’s war chest.

“Hillary outraised Trump by 5-to-1,” Higbie said, “and look how that turned out. We tell people it is the candidate that matters.”

In an interview in his Branford home a few weeks ago,  Rapini said he expected his money would come from both inside and outside the state of Connecticut, “just like Murphy’s does.”

He said one of the reasons he announced that he was running well before the November 2018 election “was so I could put together a good team of fundraisers” to raise the millions of dollars needed to wage a competitive campaign.

ctnewsjunkie file photo
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

Meanwhile, Esty, who has no announced opponent, has $1 million on hand for her 2018 re-election campaign, a milestone her campaign says she has never achieved this early in a campaign cycle since being elected in 2012.

Esty, seeking her fourth term representing Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, raised $342,039.66 from over 1,200 individual donors in the second quarter of 2017 and attributes the strong showing to an overwhelming grassroots response to her being targeted for defeat earlier this year by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

“People in Connecticut and in the 5th district want their government to work for them,” Meghan Forgione, Esty’s finance director said.

Forgione added: “They know that Representative Esty is on their side and gets things done for our state and her country. She is an independent thinker and fights for what is best for her constituents. Her supporters are fighting back right alongside her this election cycle to make sure she stays in Congress.”