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In Conn., GOP Candidates Face Challenges In Fundraising

Ebong Udoma
State Rep. John Shaban, R-135, is challenging incumbent Jim Himes to represent Connecticut's 4th congressional district.

According to recent filings with the Federal Elections Commission, Republicans running for federal office in Connecticut have raised and spent far less money than the Democratic incumbents they are hoping to unseat.

John Shaban, the Republican state representative from Redding who is challenging Democratic incumbent Jim Himes, had $40,000 on hand, the most of any of the Connecticut GOP congressional challengers. In contrast, Himes had more than $2.2 million. The gap was even wider in Connecticut’s other congressional districts.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Richard Blumenthal had $5.3 million in the bank, while his GOP opponent, State Representative Dan Carter of Bethel, had less than $70,000. Ronald Schurin, associate professor of political science at UConn, has a theory as to why the Republicans are so far behind.

“They ran two millionaires at the top of their ticket in the prior two elections. And those people were largely self-funding. That’s left the Republicans out of practice in raising funds. Next, the U.S. Senate candidate Dan Carter, to this day, has name recognition of probably in the low 30s at most, and so that also impedes fundraising.”

Schurin also says that many Connecticut Republican donors may have shifted their fundraising focus to state Senate races where they stand a better chance of defeating Democrats.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
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