State Senator Anthony Musto’s feeling pretty good about his reelection chances in two weeks. His Republican opponent Trumbull Town Councilman Chad Ciocci failed to qualify for public financing, something that has rankled Republican leadership in the 22nd State Senate district that includes all of Trumbull and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe. Had Ciocci qualified for public financing he’d have about $92,000 extra to spend in the district to help just not himself but the entire Republican ticket.
The ballot lineup in the district one through four is top line Republican: Mitt Romney, president; Linda McMahon, U.S. Senate, Steve Obsitnik, U.S. House; and then Ciocci. Democrats: Barack Obama, president; Chris Murphy, U.S. Senate; Jim Himes, U.S. House; and then Musto.
It’s hard enough taking out an incumbent, much tougher without money. Musto, backed by a heavy Democratic registration, will blow out Ciocci in Bridgeport, but Ciocci’s lack of money will allow Musto the opportunity to perform stronger in the suburban towns he had not won in 2008 when he was first elected, and 2010.
To qualify for Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded campaigns a state senate candidate must secure 300 small donations within the district to receive the cash infusion. It’s a labor-intensive process, but one a majority of candidates participating in the program meet. Ciocci, despite his repeated assurances he would qualify, fell short. The State Elections Enforcement Commission that oversees the program allocated its final grants last week.