City Councilman Marcus Brown has received a fundraising boost in his quest to defeat incumbent State Rep. Jack Hennessy, qualifying for roughly $30,000 in public funds, according to the State Elections Enforcement Commission which approved the campaign grant on Wednesday.
Party-endorsed Brown and Hennessy will square off in an August 9 Democratic primary in Connecticut’s 127th District covering the North End and portion of West Side.
Brown had come under fire from some Hennessy supporters claiming he was premature about ballyhooing the threshold to qualify for public funds under the state’s Citizens Election Program.
Candidates for state representative must raise $5,800 in contributions from individuals, with at least 150 residing in municipalities in their districts. Participating candidates may only accept small dollar contributions from certain individuals—the maximum contribution is $290—and no contributions from state contractors or PACs, according to the SEEC regulations.
Hennessy supporters want Brown’s veracity to be central in this race. Brown had pledged to support Hennessy for another two-year term then reversed himself, his home shoe-horned into Hennessy’s district in the new state map redrawn for this election cycle.
Hennessy is also trying to qualify for public funds.
This race has taken on significance given the political turf, personalities and potential to impact next year’s mayoral contest.
Hennessy’s camp declares Brown an ambitious tool of party regulars. Brown’s camp casts Hennessy as ineffective. It’s also a contest between new generation youth and the senior member in service of the city’s state legislative delegation.
City Councilwoman Maria Pereira, a hawkish opponent of the party establishment, is helming Hennessy’s race. Hennessy has been primary-free since 2006.
Brown waged a competitive primary against State Senator Marilyn Moore two years ago, albeit running on the line of Joe Biden’s presidential primary. The walk-in vote totals were close, but Moore pulled away with so many voters casting absentee ballots with Covid lurking.
Mayor Joe Ganim and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa support Brown.
Moore is eyeing another mayoral run in 2023 after giving Ganim a primary scare in 2019.
Absentee ballot votes, once again, will be key in this State House race.