DFER CT Playbook: Campaign Coffers
October 2, 2018
DFER CT Playbook:
Are you pouring over the campaign finance filings this fall to see what is in each candidate’s coffers? We are! Here is the latest update for you and some analysis from Michael Mandell, former Executive Director of the CT Democratic Party.
The frequency of the campaign filings, every several weeks at this point, gives Ned Lamont a strategic advantage. Because he is largely self-funding, he contributes when there are major upcoming expenditures. Therefore, he does not have to show his cards regarding available funds until he is ready. This means the Lamont campaign can keep the Stefanowski campaign guessing as to what resources are being expended. In contrast, the Stefanowski campaign is currently depending on individual contributions, which means they will report the total capacity for expenditure each filing period.
|TEASER: We are also hearing that the Lamont campaign will invest a sizeable chunk of money that will be reported on 10/10, large enough that it could scare new donors away from the Stefanowski campaign or the Republican State Party. Additionally with this significant financial imbalance between the campaigns, it is likely that new national investments will be curtailed. (See more from Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie here.)|
Campaign finance filings show that Stefanowski ended August with only $116,00 on hand to run the general election campaign. These figures should worry Republicans, as they’re insufficient to hire a full staff, produce materials, rent offices, or run a full paid media program (mail, digital, television, or radio). The Lamont filings paint a different story. So far, the candidate has pumped in over $1.6 million, and the campaign has spent over $1.3 million. Moreover, unlike Stefanowski, Lamont didn’t have to burn a lot of money on a competitive primary in August.
Beyond candidate committees, Stefanowski and Lamont each also have independent expenditures supporting them. “Change PAC” has blanketed the airwaves in support of Stefanowski, with their 9/21 expenditure report showing $100,000 on hand. The Republican Governors Association fully funded this PAC to the tune of $1.58 million and reportedly is prepared to spend at least $1 million more on this election, therefore we expect another sizable contribution ahead of the next paid media spend. On the Democratic side, “Our Connecticut” has seen contributions of $125,000 from the Democratic Governors Association, which has been spent on research.
We’re also keeping an eye on the final piece of the puzzle, the State Central Committees on either side. Both of these committees will likely serve as the homes for the coordinated campaigns and will provide the party infrastructure for candidates up and down the ballot. The non-federal report for Connecticut Republicans shows $55,000 on hand at the end of July; and the Democrats reported $77,000 on hand at the end of June. Since these filings took place before there were statewide nominees, we expect an uptick on both sides of the aisle in the next report (October 10).
Because this is a federal election year, both parties are also raising and spending federal dollars, reported monthly. This year, Chris Murphy has shown strong leadership at the State Party, and Democrats are consequently showing a cash-on-hand advantage–with $259,000 to the Connecticut Republicans’ $100,000. This figure will also become more important as both parties ramp up a GOTV operation to turn out their respective rows on the ballot (Democrats – Row A / Republicans – Row B).
With less than 5 weeks to go until Election Day, we will continue to keep an eye on campaign finance reports. They are an indicator of the candidates’ abilities to launch a final round of paid media blitzes, and whether they can carry tickets that drive turnout for the down ballot races like State Representative and State Senate.
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DFER CT State Director
June 25, 2022
June 13, 2022