State Senator Ed Gomes, who got a late start raising money, has crossed the $15K threshold to qualify for public financing in an effort to maintain the seat he has held since 2005, according to his campaign treasurer Matt Waggner. The Gomes campaign must receive sign-off from the State Elections Enforcement Commission to receive roughly $91,000 in public financing for the Aug. 14 Democratic primary against party-endorsed Ernie Newton and State Rep. Andres Ayala.
If Gomes receives his public financing by mid July that will give his campaign enough time to make its case to voters in Connecticut’s 23rd Senatorial District that includes roughly 70 percent of Bridgeport and portion of western Stratford. Ayala has already qualified for public financing. Newton says he too will qualify.
Connecticut’s public financing system is designed so candidates are beholden to no one. For a State Senate race candidates must receive at least 300 donations of $100 or less from residents within the district to qualify for public dough. Gomes, who loathes raising money, waited until the end of the state legislative session in late May before forming a candidate committee. It pressed his supporters into action to help him raise the money, a labor-intensive task.
Although Gomes has represented the district for seven years, Newton shocked statewide political observers by winning the party endorsement in his quest to win back the seat he occupied before his incarceration following corruption charges. Ayala brings a base of support from his State House constituency on the city’s East Side.
Assuming all three candidates qualify for public financing it sets the stage for three full-blown campaign operations.
See Gomes’ SEEC filing from a few days ago that shows him very close to the $15K (Waggner reports the campaign has since reached the necessary amount): seec.ct.gov/eCrisReporting/Data/Attachment/Unassigned/SEEC30_July_10_Filing_14053.PDF