HARTFORD, CT — None of the three Republican candidates for governor have received their $1.35 million public financing grant and they’re blaming election regulators and the legislature for the hold up.
Tim Herbst, whose application was on the agenda Wednesday for approval and was continued, said he thinks the General Assembly didn’t provide the State Elections Enforcement Commission with the manpower they needed to do their job and process what they knew was going to be a high volume of applications.
Herbst said they were told their application for the money was continued because the staff at the SEEC had not completed the review. He said they should be given more resources or the landmark clean election program should be eliminated.
Herbst was not alone in his frustration.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Westport businessman Steve Obsitnik have also not received their money despite submitting what they each feel to be $250,000 in qualifying contributions.
Herbst said they were told they can continue to fundraise as the SEEC reviews their applications.
They’re hoping it will resolve any questionable contributions and make the approval process faster.
A staffer on the Obsitnik campaign said at one point they were told to stop fundraising, which the campaign did to their detriment. He said the SEEC was “nitpicking” the contribution forms to the point where a donor who printed their name without a middle initial and signed their name with a middle initial were called into question.
Meanwhile, the self-funded candidates, David Stemerman and Bob Stefanowski, are out there spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the airwaves to reach Republican primary voters.
The SEEC has approved 26 grants for state representative races, and six grants for state Senate races. No grants for statewide office have been approved yet.
Part of the reason so many grant applications are pouring in early is because the legislature changed the program to reduce the size of the grant based on the date it’s submitted. If a grant is submitted close to the date of a primary or an election then a candidate will receive a lesser amount.
The next meeting where the grants for the three publicly financed candidates can be approved is June 13. The primary is Aug. 14.
The SEEC declined comment for this story.