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Spending On Gubernatorial Race Nears $16 Million

Republican gubernatorial candidate David Stemerman remains the king of campaign cash — and campaign spending — with days to go before primary elections will thin the field of those vying to lead Connecticut.

Stemerman, a former hedge fund manager from Greenwich, made headlines in June by pumping $10 million into his campaign, on top of millions already pledged. In a filing this week, that covered expenditures through Tuesday, he reported having spent $6.2 million since the campaign began. That’s nearly four times the amount endorsed Republican candidate Mark Boughton, the mayor of Danbury, is permitted to spend as a recipient of public financing.

Millions have gone to television advertising, from soft spots showing Stemerman’s family to aggressive attacks on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and fellow Republican businessman and gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski of Madison. Stemerman has also devoted significant spending to polling and consulting, as he and other candidates work to gain traction with voters in a crowded five-person Republican field.

Stefanowski, who also declined public financing, has spent nearly $2.9 million on his campaign — the second-highest of any gubernatorial candidate, but less than half what Stemerman has spent.

Boughton, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and businessman Steve Obsitnik of Westport all qualified for $1.35 million in public financing, and each has spent more than $1 million, but less than the $1.6 million cap imposed on those accepting public money.

In the two-man Democratic race, endorsed candidate Ned Lamont, a Greenwich businessman, has outspent Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim $2.6 million to $600,000. Lamont, who is mostly self-funded, recently put $1.5 million of his own money into his campaign coffers.

Ganim does not have the wealth of the self-funded candidates, and did not qualify for public financing due to his conviction on public corruption charges. But he has raised more money from individuals than any other candidate in either party, with nearly $800,000 donated, including money for his exploratory campaign.

About three quarters of the donations have come from outside Bridgeport, while about 17 percent came from those employed by the city. While there are restrictions on donations by employees of state contractors, there is no ban on contributions by city employees.

With most of his money coming from his own bank account, Lamont’s donations from individuals total only about a third of what Ganim has received. But Lamont has done unusually well among retirees, with nearly 30 percent of the $263,000 he’s raised coming from those who indicated they were retired.

Overall, the seven Republican and Democratic candidates for governor have spent about $16 million in pursuit of the $150,000-a-year job.

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