On October 16, Cicero Booker, candidate for Connecticut State Senate, 15th district, received $85,000 from the Connecticut state office that administers the public funding program. He is a member of the Independent Party, and is also the nominee of the Working Families Party. Connecticut permits fusion. Booker’s only opponent is Democrat Senator Joan Hartley, who has been in the legislature for 18 years.
In order to receive full public funding, Booker had to collect signatures from 20% of the last vote cast inside his State Senate district. That was 2,702 signatures. He managed this feat in four weeks by hiring paid circulators who were willing to work for a relatively low rate of pay. The Connecticut law did not permit Booker to spend more than $5,000 in the period before he qualified for Public Funding. Booker also had to obtain contributions of $15,000. Amounts over $100 did not count. Booker’s Democratic opponent also had to raise $15,000, but she didn’t need to collect any signatures in order to qualify for full public funding. The Connecticut law requires signatures in order to qualify for full public funding, if the candidate is not a nominee of a party that had polled 20% in the last election. The Independent Party polled 11.8% for State Senate in the 15th district in the last election.
The Independent Party was founded in 2002 just as a party within Waterbury, but it has expanded statewide. This year, it did its first statewide ballot access petition, to put its presidential nominee, Ralph Nader, on the Connecticut ballot. Here is an article from the New Haven Advocate of October 16 about the public funding law and its discriminatory effects.