Gomes, Cafero, Backer, Williams, win state campaign grants


Veteran state Sen. Ed Gomes, D-Bridgeport, fighting a three-way primary to retain his seat, is among those Friday who met fund-raising thresholds to receive public funding. His opponents, Rep. Andres Ayala and convicted felon Ernie Newton, previously met the thresholds, setting the scene for the August 14 winner-take-all showdown for the seat representing the eastern half of Bridgeport and part of Stratford’s South End. Rep. Terry Backer, D-Stratford, was also in Friday’s list, along with House Minority Leader Larry Cafero and Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams. Here is the news release: 

“HARTFORD, CT – July 12, 2012 – The State Elections Enforcement Commission (the “Commission”) today

awarded thirteen more public grant payments under the Citizens’ Election Program (the “Program” or “CEP”)

for the upcoming August primaries and November election. The Commission determined that state

representative candidates David Alexander (D – 58th District), Terry Backer (D – 121st District), Lawerence

Cafero, Jr. (R – 142nd District), Marilyn Giuliano (R – 23rd District), Minnie Gonzalez (D – 3rd District), Daniel

Rovero (D –51st District), Stephen Rubin (R – 136th District), Kathy Tallarita (D – 58th District), Kate Tepper

(D – 142nd District), and Edwin Vargas (D – 6th District) were eligible to receive Program grants. State senate

candidates Edwin Gomes (D – 23rd District), Edward Meyer (D – 12th District), and Donald Williams

(D – 29th District) were also determined to be eligible to receive Program grants.

The final deadline for primary grant applications is fast approaching. Friday, July 20 at 5:00 p.m. is the final

deadline for candidates to apply for primary grants. The Program has also entered what is termed the

“primary blackout period” for general election grant application reviews. For the next deadline (July 18), only

applications from candidates facing a primary will be subject to the five day turnaround time by the

Commission. General election grant applications will be accepted during this time, but will not be acted upon

by the Commission until its August 1 meeting.

The Citizens’ Election Program is a revolutionary program that allows qualifying candidates for the General

Assembly to receive full public financing. To qualify for public financing, candidates must demonstrate they

have sufficient support from their constituents. Participating candidates may only accept small dollar

contributions from individual human beings—the maximum contribution is $100—and no contributions from

state contractors, PACs, unions or corporations. The CEP was designed, in part, to reduce the influence of

special interests in state politics, and it has done so to a remarkable degree in just two full election cycles. As

the SEEC, struggling with staff reductions, begins its third cycle of administering the voluntary Program, the

CEP continues to provide a seawall against the rising tide of special interest money in today’s elections.

Grant amounts vary. Typically, primary grant amounts are $10,740 for state representative candidates and

$37,590 for state senate candidates, but amounts are higher if the candidates run in districts where one major

party has a large advantage in the number of electors registered with that party. In most races, general

election grant amounts are $26,850 for state representative candidates and $91,290 for state senate