The first expenses for the race of the governor of the CT are important but about equal
Advancing Connecticut, a new super PAC funded solely by the Republican Governors Association, reported Friday that it spent $920,000 on advertising attacking Governor Ned Lamont on television and cable television.
His opposing operation, the Democratic Governors Association-funded Stronger CT Committee, has spent $1.4 million since mid-July to oppose Republican nominee Bob Stefanowski.
The latest round of reported spending brings total spending for Connecticut’s gubernatorial race to at least $14.6 million. It’s been a pretty even fight so far, with $7.4 million spent by Republicans and $7.2 million by Democrats.
Needless to say, more is to come with three more months of campaigning. Neither candidate faces a challenge in Tuesday’s primaries.
The Democratic governor and his Republican challenger have opted out of the state’s voluntary citizen election program, as they did when they first faced off in 2018.
This year, participating in the Citizens’ Election Program would have limited their total spending to about $8 million each for the entire campaign, most of it in government grants of $7.7 million.
As of July 1, Stefanowski had spent $4.2 million of the $10 million he had personally deposited into his campaign account. It also raised $1.1 million from donors. Lamont’s largely self-funded campaign spent $6.3 million.
Campaigns for state office in Connecticut are limited to maximum contributions of $3,500. The limit for participants in the public funding program is $290.
But there’s no limit on super PAC contributions, and this year’s top donors gave $750,000.
Besides the RGA affiliate, there are two other super PACs that oppose Lamont.
CT Truth PAC spent nearly $1.6 million. Parents Against Stupid Stuff spent $200,000 on a website, digital ads and direct mail slamming Lamont for failing to speak out about what he deems inappropriate.
The first is primarily funded by three businessmen: David Kelsey of Old Lyme and Thomas E. McInerney of Westport each donated $750,000; Raymond Debbane of Greenwich, investor and chairman of Weight Watchers, donated $100,000.
The Democratic and Republican Governors Associations, which raise funds from business interests and private donors, are the only donors to Stronger CT and Advancing Connecticut.
With money flowing through the groups’ national accounts, money spent by the RGA and DGA in Connecticut cannot be easily attributed to specific donors.