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The State Elections Enforcement Commission has announced that the Democratic candidates for the 20th District state Senate seat, New London Democratic Town Committee Chairman Bill Satti and state Rep. Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford, are eligible for public campaign financing through the state Citizen’s Election Program.
The two are slated to face off for the Democratic nomination in the Aug. 12 primary elections. The 20th District encompasses Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford.
Ritter announced earlier this month that she had raised enough funding and garnered enough signatures to qualify for funding, and Satti at that time said he was very close. The commission announced last week that Ritter qualified and announced Wednesday that Satti did.
CEP is a voluntary program that provides public financing to candidates for state office who abide by fundraising guidelines. For Senate candidates, the guidelines include raising at least $15,000 through contributions of between $5 and $100 from at least 300 residents in the candidate’s district. The program provides funding for primary elections as well as the general elections.
The deadline to apply for the primary grant is July 18. The baseline grant for candidates participating in primaries is about $39,000, and for those in districts overwhelmingly dominated by one party, the amount is about $84,000. The 20th district is a party-dominant district that leans Democratic, according to commission materials.
Whoever wins the primary will automatically qualify for general election funding, which for party-dominant districts amounts to about $95,000.
Republican candidate for the 20th District, East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica, has not indicated to the commission whether he is participating in the grant program, according to commission spokesperson Joshua Foley.
Formica is participating in the general election and is not going to primary. Foley said that candidates in the general election have until 40 days before the Nov. 4 election, or until late September, to announce their participation in the program and until Oct. 10 to apply for grant funding.
Funding is dispersed to candidates within 48 hours of the commission determining that they qualify.