Updated Monday night with comment from Art Scialabba.
NORWALK, Conn. – Local state senate and state representative candidates are assembling their campaign “war chests,” with some candidates waiting – and hoping – for an influx of state cash to revive moribund bank accounts.
There are three primary races in Norwalk, two on the Democratic side and one between Republicans. GOP hopefuls Emily Wilson and Fred Wilms face off Aug. 12 in the 143rd District to see who will carry the red banner into the November election to replace retiring 11-term rep Larry Cafero.
The two candidates were among the earlier candidates to qualify for funding through the Citizens Election Program, which requires state rep candidates to raise at least $5,000 from at least 150 local donors, with donations not exceeding $100. Anyone age 12 and older can make a contribution to a candidate, and they don’t have to be in district or even in the same party. The final deadline to qualify for primary financing is 5 p.m. July 18, so donations should be made by July 17.
The GOP candidates raised remarkably similar totals as of the June 30 reporting date, with Wilms posting $16,674.04 and Wilson $16,575.03. Both totals include the $11,000-plus CEP funding. Wilson reported having $6,128.08 on hand as of the reporting deadline, while Wilms had $13,409.39.
Democrat Andy Garfunkel, who is not facing a primary and who has received his general election funding, is sitting on $31,272.87.
Things are considerable tighter in the 140th and 137th districts. In the 137th, challenger David Watts recently qualified for the CEP funds but had not yet received the money by June 30, reporting just $141.39 on hand. This was after raking in more than $5,400 through an exploratory committee formed in spring 2013 and closed out April 26 this year when he finally declared what office he would be running for. Watts, a two-term Common Council member (D-District A) won the Democratic caucus vote to gain the party nomination, but five-term incumbent Chris Perone petitioned his way onto the ballot for the primary.
Perone, who said he did not start fundraising activity in earnest until after the legislative session ended in May, had not qualified for the CEP money as of last week, but reported raising $6,760, with $3,930.50 still on hand. Perone said his campaign would be sending in their funding request package “shortly.”
Republican Art Scialabba has been described as a “placeholder” in the 137th and may be replaced on the November ballot. He was raised $255 and spent nothing. There is no Republican primary in the district. Scialabba said Monday that the CRIS form as incorrect, that he not raised or spent an money.
“I filed exempt and don’t have to file or have a treasurer since I am not receiving nor expending any $’s,” he wrote in an email.
Four-term incumbent Bruce Morris qualified last week for CEP funding after raising $5,295.06. He reported $1,133.51 on hand. His challenger, former Common Council member Warren Peña, reported raising $6,108.92 and having $817.90 on hand. Despite earlier pronouncements to the contrary, Peña had not qualified for funding as of last week.
In the 143rd District, Republican incumbent Gail Lavielle enjoys a huge cash advantage over Democratic challenger Keith Rodgerson, a relative newcomer to the district. Rodgerson served on the Bridgeport city council before moving to Wilton a year ago. Lavielle reported $36,458.35 in total cash raised, including CEP funding, with $32,823.35 still available. Rodgerson reported $6,074 raised on the termination report for his exploratory committee, including $5,499 from individuals However, his June 30 report shows $1,119 raised and $1,058.49 on hand. However, with no primary, he has until mid-October to qualify for funding.
A wide disparity exists in the 25th Senate District race, where five-time incumbent Bob Duff has raised $46,474.57, including the CEP grant, for his November run against Republican Bill Dunne. Dunne has raised $2,717 and hasn’t spent a nickel, according to his June 30 filing.
Duff, on the other hand, has already spent most of his loot, the bulk of it with the consultant SoNo Group. Duff has paid the company about $39,000 as of June 30, and has $2,305.38 on hand.
See all the June 30 reports here: