At a competitive disadvantage in ballot position and in fundraising, state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, will resort to pooling political contributions with running mate Dave Walker to try to qualify for public campaign financing in the GOP gubernatorial race.
The pair filed a joint application Wednesday for a $1.4 million grant through the state’s so-called clean elections program for the primary campaign.
A competing application from Tom Foley, who was able to reach the qualifying threshold of the program on his own and is the GOP’s endorsed candidate for governor, is still pending with the state Elections Enforcement Commission.
McKinney, the Legislature’s top Republican, is trying to convince GOP primary voters that he is a viable alternative to Foley, the party’s nominee in 2010. The primary is Aug. 12.
“Dave and I both believe that we’re stronger running as team,” McKinney told Hearst Connecticut Media Wednesday.
On his own, McKinney estimated that he is about $40,000 short of the $250,000 political contribution threshold. Together, he said he and Walker raised $280,000.
The deadline for candidates to qualify for public funding for the primary, which requires them to raise political contributions in $100 increments, is July 18. The winner of the primary will get another $6 million in taxpayer funds and face Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in November.
“One of the reasons why we made the decision to do it today is because we want to make sure that we will qualify and give us enough time to execute our campaign plan,” McKinney said.
Walker, in contrast, was close to qualifying for public funding on his own, but agreed to pool contributions if McKinney fell short.
“John McKinney and I represent a strong team with a real plan to turn around the state and create a comeback in Connecticut,” Walker said in a statement.
By merging their fundraising accounts, McKinney and Walker will forgo an additional $400,000 in public funding that is set aside for candidates for lieutenant governor who are able to qualify for the program on their own.