Mayor Joe Ganim’s campaign for governor has raised in total roughly $800,000 for the latest reporting period ending June 30, a respectable neighborhood under normal circumstances in his underdog challenge of Democratic-endorsed Ned Lamont who will leverage millions of dollars of his personal wealth as they go head-to-head in an August 14 Democratic primary. Where the money was raised and subsequent campaign expenditures invested won’t be known until the Ganim campaign finance report is filed Tuesday with the State Elections Enforcement Commission. The Ganim campaign reports it has about $300,000 on hand.
Ganim has averaged nearly $100,000 a month raised since his formal entry into the race. When Ganim announced his candidacy it was among the projected confluence of a large field, but that number reduced dramatically as party regulars bet on the self-funding fortune of Lamont who burst onto Connecticut’s political scene in 2006 winning a Democratic primary against U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman who won another term in the general election running on an independent line. In 2010 Lamont spent roughly $10 million of his own money but lost a gubernatorial primary to party-endorsed Dan Malloy.
Lamont disappeared for years from the political scene but reemerged this year after high-wymprofile Democrats such as Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and Attorney General George Jepsen eschewed a gubernatorial run.
Lamont decided to use his own funds rather than participate in Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races that avails about $1.3 million to qualifying primary candidates. For general election nominees it’s $6.5 million.
Ganim is prohibited from accessing public dollars as a result of his 2003 conviction on public corruption charges so he’s raising money based on the guidelines of the old rules that include a personal maximum contribution of $3,500.
Ganim would have raised more money were it not for his personal effort leading a petition drive to qualify for the August primary. Ganim came up short to receive the necessary 15 percent party support in May to qualify for the August primary. His campaign operation accomplished a first among a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, securing more than 15,000 verified signatures to cement a primary ballot.
Lamont and Ganim will face off in a forum Thursday night at the Shubert Theater in New Haven organized by the Connecticut Association of Realtors and WTNH News 8.
Ganim is clearly the more skilled retail politician, but plutocrat Lamont has financing and organizational advantages so Ganim must be at the top of his game in the forum to elevate his standing among electors who question his past. He must do that by talking about the future of the state.
Lamont must do double duty as the front runner explaining where he wants to take the state while not alienating voters sensitive to Ganim’s second-chance message he’ll need against the Republican in a presumed general election.
Statement from Ganim’s campaign:
“Our grassroots campaign for governor continues to gain momentum. We are on track to raise $1,000,000 for the primary, which has always been our goal. We have accomplished this at the same time we secured a record 32,000 petition signatures to get on the August primary ballot. Unlike Ned Lamont, we don’t have a multi-million dollar trust fund, but the support of grassroots Democrats who want a candidate who will work to build a new Connecticut economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few,” said Ganim.
Ganim also reiterated his call for Lamont to listen to his running mate Susan Bysiewicz, who called on Lamont to limit his campaign spending. Ganim has also called on Lamont to limit his primary spending to $1,000,000.
“Voters are tired of multi-millionaire candidates with no governmental experience who try to buy an election. Ned Lamont has twice spent tens of millions to win office. Having said he will spend at least $10,000,000 on this race, Ned Lamont is at risk of becoming the Linda McMahon of this election cycle. Ned should listen to his own running mate and not attempt to buy his third try at statewide office,” said Ganim.