Lauretti nears $250,000 fund-raising goal

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, a Republican candidate for governor in 2018, has raised a total of $84,580.11 in contributions during the third quarter of 2017, from July 1 to Sept. 30, bringing his total to $229,670.11.

Lauretti’s fund-raising efforts leave him just over $30,000 shy of qualifying for millions of dollars in public financing. The longtime Shelton mayor raised nearly $145,000 in his first three months of fund raising.

Under the Citizens Election Program, candidates for governor must raise $250,000 in increments of $100 or less from in-state donors in order to qualify for the additional money for their campaign.

Lauretti was unavailable for comment as of Wednesday afternoon, but told The Herald he wouldn’t be surprised if the Democratic governor cut or decreased the amount of funds awarded to candidates who qualify for public financing.

“The governor and legislature do a lot of things that are disingenuous, so anything’s possible, although I’m not sure it will withstand a court challenge,” said Lauretti.

Lauretti said although the $1.4 million his campaign could receive through public financing would help, he doesn’t think he needs it to win the 2018 race for governor.

“I don’t think it matters to me. I am going to go either route, and I think I have a really good enrollment base and voter base,” Lauretti said before disclosing that his campaign has raised more than $200,000 to date. “We’re well on our way.”

Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, another Republican candidate for governor in 2018, had raised a total of $195,487.69 at the close of the third quarter of 2017. This represents a jump of about $46,698 in the last three months. Herbst had reported a total of $148,790 at the end of the second quarter of 2017, which ended June 30.

The $195,487 was raised from 2,295 unique, individual donors, 91.2% from in-state, according to his campaign.

“Every day our campaign to upend business as usual in Hartford and begin delivering relief for struggling Connecticut families continues to gain momentum,” Herbst said.

Herbst said his campaign generated significant momentum during the third quarter, picking up endorsements from the Republican committees in Trumbull and Putnam. He was also endorsed by 11 current and former municipal executives during the third quarter of 2017.

“Connecticut voters know that if we want different results from Hartford, we simply must send a different type of leader to Hartford, a proven reformer and Hartford outsider who will tell it like it is and fight for hardworking Connecticut taxpayers,” he said.

Herbst said his campaign remains on track to finish raising the required $250,000 under the Citizens Election Program by early 2018.

“We are in great shape to finish fund raising by early 2018,” Herbst said. “We can then turn our attention to winning support at the GOP convention and bringing our message to voters statewide. To win this election and change how Hartford does business, our party needs to elect a battle-tested candidate with a track record of winning tough fights and challenging the status quo once in office.”

Herbst’s fund-raising total places him about even with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and former U.S. Comptroller Dave Walker of Bridgeport among Republican candidates. Boughton raised $33,790 in the third quarter, for a total of $195,941. Walker has reported raising a total of over $194,000 and boasted on Twitter that he expected to reach the $250,000 threshold “with a cushion” by Thanksgiving. The comment drew a social media rebuke from Herbst, who tweeted, “One ‘qualifies’ when the SEEC says they qualify and check every contribution.”

Steve Obsitnik of Norwalk ($265,363) and state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan of Glastonbury ($255,583) lead GOP contenders, according to a report in the Hartford Courant. Bob Stefanowski of Madison has reported raising over $315,000, but most of that is not eligible for the program, as $250,000 of that total came from Stefanowski himself.

On the Democratic side, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim has raised a total of $145,785 but is ineligible to participate in the program because of his prior corruption conviction, according to the Courant. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew has reported a total of $231,690.