July 27th, 2018
The latest from the folks across the street from the Capitol

From Paddi's Desk
by Paddi LeShane

18 days.... 17 days.... 16 days.... 15 days.... August 14th Primary day in CT!

All's deader than a doornail across the street at the Capitol, but not for long! Primary day in CT is destined to be a wild one for sure, and that will liven up the Capitol as everyone chills out the day after the results are tallied. A lot can impact the way the Capitol works depending on the outcome, and unless you're working on one of the candidates' campaigns, no one is taking bets yet on who will survive.

With 18 days to go, the more than 30 candidates are holding their collective breath, knocking on doors, dialing for dollars and hoping their internal campaign polling is accurate "enough" to secure their party's nomination for six of the six constitutional offices as well as the 5th Congressional District. On the Republican side, all but the Secretary of the State's seat are being challenged, and on the Democratic side, the current Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and current Comptroller Kevin Lembo are unchallenged in this summer's primary. For the 5th Congressional District, three Republican candidates are squaring off, while on the Democratic side there are only two.

Of the 26 candidates running for statewide office, 14 have secured public financing from CT's campaign finance program, which was established under former Governor M. Jodi Rell. The program was enacted in an attempt to level the field for all candidates and ensure "clean campaigns" that are free of special interest funding and pressure. Both Democratic candidates, for different reasons, are not participating in the state's campaign finance program. Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim doesn't qualify after his felony conviction for abuse of office and leveraging a "pay-to-play" scheme several years ago. Ned Lamont, the party's endorsed candidate, is self-funding. On the Republican side, three candidates have qualified for the program: Mayor Mark Boughton, former Mayor Tim Herbst and - after seven tries - Steve Obsitnik qualified last week. Two other Republican candidates, Bob Stefanowski and David Stemerman, are self-funding their campaigns. That being said, no one is willing to call either race, since it's a strange year.

The candidates for the 5th Congressional race don't have the luxury of public financing, so they are definitely balancing the need to dial for dollars with the travel around the 41 towns of the district. The 5th stretches from Danbury to Sharon to Torrington to Simsbury to New Britain to a part of Middlefield and over to Southbury - crazy gerrymandering for sure! Mary Glassman, endorsed candidate on the Democratic side, has the most funding on hand and even pulled off an event hosted by the other three Congress-people from CT, as well as former Senator Chris Dodd. But newcomer Jahana Hayes sure is leveraging her yet-to-be announced support by Senator Chris Murphy into her own campaign operation. On the Republican side, no one is sure who will surface the winner. Former Meriden councilman Manny Santos is the endorsed candidate, but newcomer Ruby O'Neill and Rich DuPont definitely are mounting a challenge.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the legislative races, but with space running out I'll see you next week for a detailed look at how those are shaping up. And seriously - please be looking for us to use our crystal ball yet. We have our favorite candidates, but it's way too early for anyone to predict what the outcome will be. You'll just have to come back next week to get an update on the latest and greatest concerning CT's August 14th primary.

CT Agency Corner   
CT Insurance Department - Crumbling Foundations Fixes Loom
by Mike Johnson

Crumbling foundations relief and fixes to a measure passed last session are still being considered, even during the dog days of summer.
On the federal level, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy have pledged to attach budget language related to funding for crumbling foundation to Federal Department of Housing proposals. The amendment would provide $100 million over five years to states that have created non-profit crumbling foundation assistance funds to repair damage to residential structures due to pyrrhotite. Connecticut would expect to be a prime recipient of that funding if Congress and HUD approve of this measure.
Last session, Connecticut passed two measures of significance to help homeowners with crumbling foundations. The first being approving $100M over five years for capital improvements to be dedicated to the crumbling foundation fund. The second was a surcharge on all homeowner policies in CT of $12 per policy that goes directly to the fund. Despite this effort, a glitch was written within the bill from last session where all policyholders listed on the same plan would all be charged the $12 individually, instead of per policy, which was what was intended for the bill.
The Governor would need to call in the legislature for a special session or the legislature would need to petition the Secretary of State to convene a special session. It's unclear yet if the Governor and legislature will move forward with a special session in the middle of campaign season. Stay tuned!

The Real Scoop

It's campaign season folks! Mark your calendars for upcoming debates to learn more about those candidates running for office this fall.

The Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) will co-host a Republican and a Democratic gubernatorial candidate forum with the Connecticut Mirror and Connecticut Public Radio and the events will be moderated by WNPR's John Dankosky:
  • Republican Candidate Forum on Monday, Aug. 6, with a reception from 6 to 7 p.m. and the forum will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield.
  • Democratic Candidate Forum on Tuesday, Aug. 7, with a reception from 6 to 7 p.m. and the forum will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bucknall Theater, University of New Haven, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven.
WFSB will host a series of political debates in partnership with UConn moderated by Dennis House:
  • Gubernatorial Debate on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the UConn Storrs Campus.
  • U.S. Senate Debate on Sunday, Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to noon at the WFSB Rocky Hill Studio.

Did You Know?

Summer in CT is alive and well, and it is hot! Swimming in a pool or sitting in AC is nice, but how about some ice cream to keep you cool? Here are some of the best places in CT to grab a cup or a cone, check them out before its too late!
  • UConn Dairy Bar, Storrs
  • Ferris Acres Creamery, Newtown
  • Ashley's Ice Cream, Branford (and Other Locations)
  • Wells Hollow Creamery, Shelton
  • Gofer Ice Cream, Greenwich (and Other Locations)
  • A.C. Peterson, West Hartford
  • Sea Swirl, Mystic 
In This Issue:
by Ryan Bingham

July, for all Connecticut residents, is the month that local property taxes are due.  In many cases, especially in most cities, throughout Connecticut residents will have an increase in their local motor vehicle property tax bill.  As a result of a legislative change, the statewide mill rate cap on motor vehicles was increased from 39 mills last year to 45 mills this year.  So, if you lived in a community in CT that has a mill rate of 43, your car taxes could have gone up 4 mills.  In New London, the increase was almost 6 mills.  The cap is somewhat offset by municipal funding set aside in the state budget, but many local leaders are suggesting that there is not adequate funding to hold the motor vehicle tax rate the same as last year.

That being said, there are more and more communities joining Sustainable CT. Sustainable CT is an initiative that allows towns to earn points and certification by achieving various goals. These aims include improving watershed management, supporting the arts, increasing renewable energy, supporting local businesses, providing efficient and diverse housing options, and more.  There are now over 50 municipalities in CT that have joined.  For more information on sustainable CT, please click on this useful link: https://sustainablect.org/ 

the Scenes
by Chelsea Neelon

Last week, I let you know about the deadline for candidates trying to qualify for the Citizens Election Program grant, as some statewide candidates were still trying to make the cut. 

As promised, here is a little update on those trying to get their share before the deadline. After a final push, Mayor Erin Stewart qualified for her CEP grant along with First Selectwoman of Darian Jayme Stevenson. Both women are vying for the Lt. Gov. spot on the Republican ticket against party endorsed candidate Senator Joe Markley. The securing of those funds could be the deal breaker in these hotly contested primary campaigns.

Speaking of hotly contested races, the Lt. Gov. race on the Democratic ticket now has two candidates that have qualified for their CEP grants. Susan Bysiewicz and Eva Bermudez Zimmerman are vying for the number two spot in CT, and all eyes are watching to see if the party insider will win, or the year of the outsider will prevail.

The general focus for candidates now reaching as many voters as possible, whether it be through mail, digital or TV ads, radio, you name it. Get ready to see these statewide and governor candidate's faces on a mailer or TV near you sometime very soon!

Upcoming Events:

Farmington Valley Women Belong in the CT House Fundraiser
Monday July 30th
2Wives Brick Oven Pizza
45 Huntington Street, New London