Courtney, McMahon pad leads in campaign fundraising

Hartford — New campaign finance reports show Congressman Joe Courtney adding to his commanding fundraising lead over Republican challengers and U.S. Senate hopeful Linda McMahon making another big loan to her own campaign.

Courtney, the Democratic incumbent in the 2nd Congressional District, brought in just over $211,000 in contributions between April 25 and June 30, boosting his total haul in this campaign cycle to $1.1 million. The filings show his campaign with about $926,124 "cash on hand" and expenditures so far totaling $389,926.

A distant second is East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica, the convention-endorsed Republican, who reported $26,321 in contributions in the two-month period ending June 30. Formica did not enter the race until mid-May when state Rep. Chris Coutu, R-Norwich, dropped out to run instead for state Senate.

"We're obviously not going to have as much as Joe Courtney's, and so we're going to run a grass-roots campaign," John Kleinhans, Formica's campaign manager, said Monday.

In the Senate race, McMahon reported making $5.9 million in loans to her campaign since late April and receiving $115,500 in new donations.

The Greenwich wrestling magnate has loaned her campaign $8.1 million since announcing her candidacy last year for the seat of retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman. Her total donations amount to $1.2 million.

On the spending side, the McMahon campaign has gone through $9 million as of June 30, which is slightly less than half of the $18.8 million it spent at this point in her unsuccessful 2010 run for U.S. Senate. McMahon expended nearly $50 million of her fortune in that race, which ultimately went to Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

McMahon's challenger in the Aug. 14 primary, former congressman Christopher Shays, reported a second-quarter haul of $530,811 from 1,262 donors. Altogether, he has raised $1.4 million since last fall.

Congressman Chris Murphy, the endorsed Democrat in the U.S. Senate race, raised just over $1 million in the latest reporting period. He holds $3.1 million cash in hand and has received $5.45 million in donations to date.

"With over 1,700 new contributors just this quarter, our campaign is growing fast," Murphy said in a statement. "This was our most successful quarter ever, and we did it through the power of thousands of small donations—82% of our contributions were $250 or less."

Susan Bysiewicz, the former secretary of the state challenging Murphy in the primary, reported raising just over $355,000 in the period ending June 30. All told, she raised $2.25 million since last year and now holds about $920,000 cash in hand.

"Over the past two weeks we have been on television communicating Susan's message of successfully standing up to powerful special interests and lobbyists," Jonathan Ducote, Bysiewicz's campaign manager, said in a statement. "We have the resources we need for the primary and will continue to make smart investments in order to communicate Susan's message across Connecticut."

Courtney's campaign contributors have been about evenly split between individuals and political action committees. His campaign manager, Emma Pietrantonio, said in a statement that Courtney's "strong fundraising total this quarter demonstrates again broad support for his efforts."

"Congressman Courtney this year has made job creation, economic development and strengthening middle-class families in eastern Connecticut a priority," Pietrantonio said. "He has hosted three job fairs, successfully led an effort to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, and worked for bipartisan legislation that is helping businesses right here in our state hire veterans."

Formica set out a goal of raising $1 million by late summer or early fall. "That is a number that would make us very competitive," he said last week. Formica's campaign manager said Monday that July will be a much stronger fundraising month.

Daria Novak of Madison, the other Republican challenging Courtney, raised just under $3,700 in the second quarter, bringing her total to about $29,100. She has $3,045 cash on hand.

Formica and Novak will square off in next month's primary as well.


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