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Monday, July 10, 2017

Westporter Obsitnik Raises $201,000 to Explore Statewide Run

Westport Republican Steve Obsitnik announced today that his exploratory campaign for a statewide office run has raised $201,567 from more than 1,700 donors.

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Steve Obsitnik: “On road to ruin.” Contributed photo

A $250,000 threshold is needed to get public funding.

“We had a great second quarter,” said Obsitnik. “I think it’s because people are tired of the same career politicians who have run our state into the ground and want to see a new approach.”

Obsitnik who was unopposed when he won the Republican nomination in 2012 for the U.S. House of Representatives, was defeated by Democrat Jim Himes who was running for reelection that year. Himes has held the seat since 2009.

In making his announcement about exploring a run for statewide office—speculation it is for governor— Obsitnik, chairman and chief executive of Quintel Technology, assailed the status quo.

He said that Connecticut ranks 45th in business climate, 49th in overall tax burden, 46th in state and local debt per resident, 47th in public sector pension underfunding, “and nearly half of Connecticut’s residents would rather live somewhere else.”

“The path we have been on has been a road to ruin,” he said. “To reinvent Connecticut, it must start with bold ideas, a return to our entrepreneurial roots and true leadership to address our fiscal crisis.”

Other Republicans exploring a statewide run include Prasad Srinivasan, a Glastonbury state representative, with $205,000 raised from about 2,400 donors, and Fairfield attorney Peter Lumaj, who reportedly has garnered more than $281,000.

Republican Mayor Mark Lauretti of Shelton and Democratic state Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo each raised about $145,000 in their first months as a candidate or exploratory candidate for governor in 2018, new highs for non-incumbents in the era of public financing in Connecticut.

Democrat Chris Mattei, a former federal prosecutor seeking office for the first time, closely followed the two experienced candidates, raising $118,343 in his first two-plus months as an exploratory candidate.

But Lauretti’s debut with $145,090 was the most impressive: As a declared candidate for governor participating in the voluntary public financing program, he was limited to individual contributions of no more than $100. As exploratory candidates, Lembo, who raised $143,701, and Mattei could accept up to $375.

To qualify for public financing, a candidate for governor must raise $250,000 in contributions of between $5 and $100, and 90 percent of the money must come from Connecticut donors. The public grants for a major-party nominee are about $6.5 million for the general election.

The field of would-be successors to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat who announced on April 13 he would not seek a third term, is a mix of candidates and exploratory candidates. The latter can use their contributions for a range of state offices.

Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, a Republican, now a candidate after a five-month exploratory effort, raised $65,147 in the quarter: $40,384 through the candidate committee he created June 8, and$24,763 through his exploratory committee.

In total, Herbst now has raised $148,590 since January.

No official filing was available from Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a Republican, but he announced last week his exploratory committee raised $70,860 in the quarter, bringing his total to $162,000 since November.

Lauretti, Lembo and Mattei were among seven candidates or exploratory candidates who began fundraising in April. The others: Democrat Jonathan Harris, $88,000; Republican David Walker, $72,156; Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim of Bridgeport, $36,165; and Republican Joe Visconti, $2,150.

Harris, Walker and Ganim raised their money as exploratory candidates. Visconti is a declared candidate. Walker, the former comptroller general of the U.S., filed papers today closing his exploratory committee and opening a candidate committee.

—James Lomuscio with additional reporting by Mark Pazniokas/CtMirror.org.

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Posted 07/10/17 at 08:24 PM  Permalink



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