Mayor Joe Ganim who’ll be outspent heavily in the August 14 Democratic primary for governor is challenging party-endorsed Ned Lamont, the wealthy Greenwich entrepreneur, to limit campaign spending to $1 million. Good luck with that. Ganim issued the call on the Sunday show Face The State hosted by Dennis House (see video above) and in a news release on Monday. He also raised the specter of Linda McMahon, the self-funder who lost two runs for U.S. Senate in a state loathe, so far, to electing self-funders. The wrestling magnate is currently head of the Small Business Administration, appointed by Donald Trump.
“I challenge Mr. Lamont not to try to buy this election and instead limit his spending to what we’re spending, one million dollars,” Ganim said in a statement. “Don’t become the Linda McMahon of this election cycle. Learn from your past mistakes. Listen to your lieutenant governor candidate Susan Bysiewicz who said to limit your spending. Reach out to voters and really let them decide this thing and not buy it with money.”
The reality is Ganim would love to spend a total of $1 million, and more, on this primary if he can get there. Ganim is likely north of $700,000 raised in his Runyonesque pursuit of the governor’s office. The latest fundraising quarter ended on Saturday. Lamont is raising money, but the majority of his campaign expenditures will be financed by his deep pockets. He has the financial firepower to blow out millions in the final weeks of the primary.
The Republican who comes out of the five-way GOP primary will have at least $6.5 million to spend in the general election, if it’s Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton or former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, unless two GOP self-funders David Stemerman or Bob Stefanowski prevail. The public dough of the fifth candidate Steve Obsitnik is bogged down in an an investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission that oversees the state’s public financing program.
When House asked Ganim what it will take for him to win the primary, Ganim pivoted to contrast.
“I am humbled by the honor to serve and the 32,000 people that have allowed me to be on the ballot on August 14th. No disrespect, but you have a Greenwich millionaire, some who’ve said is greatly out of touch, who doesn’t understand a lot of the programs that exist that support people. And, you have a guy that’s been knocked down, picked up, who rolls up his sleeves and wants to help. I have a public service experience of 14 years. My campaign is about building a better Connecticut that works for everyone, focusing on our cities.”
Ganim was boxed out of the public financing program because of his 2003 conviction on public corruption charges. He’s raising money the old-fashioned way, soliciting funds that allows a maximum personal contribution of $3,500.