The State Senate campaign of State Rep. Andres Ayala is expected to be on the agenda next week of the State Elections Enforcement Commission that approves qualifying grants for the Citizens Elections Program, Connecticut’s system to publicly finance elections. Ayala is challenging incumbent Ed Gomes and party-endorsed Ernie Newton in an Aug. 14 Democratic primary. Newton says his campaign has also begun the process to submit paperwork to the state that will place him on the agenda for approval within the next few weeks.
Qualifying for the public money is labor intensive. The campaigns of candidates for State Senate must secure at least 300 donations of not more than $100 to reach the $15,000 that triggers state dough.
Connecticut’s 23rd Senatorial is considered a party-dominant district. Joshua Foley, an attorney with the SEEC explains that under the public financing rules qualifying State Senate campaigns will receive an $80,555 grant. If it were not a party-dominant district, he says, the amount would be $37,590.
If Ayala, Newton and Gomes all qualify for public financing roughly $300,000 will be spent between the three camps, a hefty amount with just two months until the primary. The district covers about 70 percent of Bridgeport and a portion of western Stratford.
All three candidates are in full-blown campaign mode raising money, visiting senior centers, knocking on doors, attending festivals, kissing babies. Meanwhile the absentee ballot operations of the camps, especially Ayala and Newton, are in overdrive. Look for charges and counter charges from the camps in the coming weeks.