Herbst closing in on election fundraising goal

First Selectman Tim Herbst emphasizes a point during his speech announcing his intention to run for governor. — Dylan Haviland photo
First Selectman Tim Herbst emphasizes a point during his speech announcing his intention to run for governor. — Dylan Haviland photo

First Selectman Tim Herbst’s gubernatorial campaign is closing in on qualifying for funding through the state’s Citizens Election Program, raising just over $65,000 in the last three months to end June about $100,000 short of the required $250,000. Candidates who raise $250,000 in qualifying donations are eligible to receive $1.4 million in state funds for a primary campaign, and another $6.5 million to the nominees for the general election. Qualifying donations must be in increments of $100 or less, and 90% must come from state residents.

"Our strong fund-raising numbers are a reflection of the tremendous amount of support among Connecticut voters for a proven reformer and Hartford outsider in this race," Herbst said. "With this second strong quarter of fund-raising we are in tremendous shape to finish raising the necessary qualifying funds by early 2018. We can then turn our attention to winning support at the GOP convention and bringing our message to voters statewide."

Herbst, who has raised a total of $148,590 in six months, said the second quarter was traditionally the toughest for fund-raising.

“When you look at candidates that have participated, when they started and where they plateaued, this quarter is the most critical,” he said. “Everyone has their contacts and supporters. Once you tap those donors, you have to branch out and start building coalitions.”

Herbst said his campaign had a goal to hit $200,000 in total fund-raising by the end of the next quarter, which closes September 30, and to reach the $250,000 threshold by the end of 2017, five months before the Republican state convention and eight months before the anticipated GOP primary.

Herbst said his reputation as a reformer is resonating with donors. His campaign money comes from 1,644 individual donors, with the average contribution being $90.

“What I’m going to focus on is where we are and what I intend to do,” Herbst said. “We have to focus on our record, our state’s high cost of living, and our catastrophic fiscal crisis. If we want different results from Hartford, we simply must send a different type of leader to Hartford.”

Herbst, who was one of the first candidates to announce his run for governor, is well-positioned to qualify for the state election program. His fund-raising totals place him in the upper echelon of candidates as of the June 30 filing deadline. Locally, though, another local municipal leader raised eyebrows with a strong fund-raising quarter of his own.

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, who said he only began fund-raising in late April, has equaled Herbst’s totals after raising just over $145,000 in the first quarter of 2017.

Lauretti, who ran for governor in 2014, also showed a strong ability to raise money, but failed to secure enough support at the party’s convention to qualify for the primary.