Candidates for Governor Have the Cash to Qualify, But Will They Apply For Public Financing?

May 30, 2014

Once candidates take the money, that's the only pot from which their campaigns can spend.

Both the Democratic and Republican endorsed candidates for governor have said they've raised enough money to qualify for public campaign funds, but either of them has actually applied. 

Earlier this month, Republican Tom Foley said he had raised enough money to qualify for public financing as he challenges Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy. Earlier this week, Malloy said that he has raised enough, too. Both of them had to bring in $250,000 in contributions no larger than $100 each, but that's just the first step.

Michael Brandi, the executive director of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, said campaigns issue press releases all the time saying they've raised what they need to qualify. "From our perspective," he said, "until we actually see a formal application, and have had a chance to vet the entire application, and then present it to the commission, the commission is the only entity that can formally approve the grants."

If candidates for office are approved, they are eligible for $1.3 million to be used in their party primary, should there be one, and another $6.5 million to use in the general election.

Foley, a former ambassador and businessman who self-funded his unsuccessful run for governor in 2010, said he hasn't yet decided whether to apply for the financing. In an email to supporters, Malloy's campaign said it is "in the process of submitting" its application to the state.

Brandi said that once candidates take the money, that's the only pot from which their campaigns can spend. "They are then committed to spending just those amounts of money," he said. "They no longer need to raise any other funds. It is a voluntary program, so they agree to a voluntary expenditure limit."

Candidates who want the funding for their primary races -- statewide or legislative -- have until mid-July to file their applications with the state.