Courtney jumps to $1 million fundraising advantage in 2nd District campaign

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, has outstripped his Republican challenger in fundraising by more than $1 million, according to paperwork filed by each candidate with the Federal Election Commission.

Net contributions to Courtney's campaign during this election cycle total $1,041,637, while Republican nominee Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh has $12,091 in net contributions, according to the candidates' July quarterly reports.

That number, however, does not include loans. Hopkins-Cavanagh's campaign has $47,625 cash on hand, a number bolstered by the $51,000 loaned to the campaign by Hopkins-Cavanagh, which accounts for 73 percent of the campaign's income. The $51,000 is considered by the FEC as debt owed by the campaign even though it is the candidate's money.

James McGill, a spokesperson for Hopkins-Cavanagh's campaign, said anyone evaluating those numbers should remember that it is early in the election season.

"Our fundraising is accelerating," said McGill on Thursday. "We will start our serious push very soon."

He also noted that Hopkins-Cavanagh has less money from special interests than Courtney. More than half of Courtney's money comes from committee contributions, while 8.7 percent of Hopkins-Cavanagh's does: $5,000 from the Grassroots East Federal PAC, a Westbrook-based conservative political action committee that has only contributed to Hopkins-Cavanagh so far this year, and $1,000 from the Vernon Republican Town Committee.

Grassroots East gave the same amount to Republican Paul Formica when he challenged Courtney in 2012.

"Congressman Courtney is honored that year after year he continues to receive the support of donors both large and small from the state of Connecticut," Courtney's campaign manager, Tim Brown, said in an email Thursday evening. "More than 70% of individual donors to Congressman Courtney's campaign are from Connecticut, and more than 60% of contributions are from grassroots donors who have given less than $100. Congressman Courtney is also proud to be supported by a number of companies that employ residents across the Second Congressional District, and recognize the hard work he does every day to protect jobs and small businesses in the state."

CEOs, presidents, executives and attorneys pop up frequently among the individuals who have helped raise more than $400,000 for Courtney, although they aren't his only contributors. Donations also came, for instance, from a teacher in Westbrook, a member of the clergy at an Episcopal Church and an artist in Stonington.

Political committee contributions account for 59.8 percent of Courtney's donations, and the PACs represent medical and veterinary associations, insurance and investment companies, technology corporations and professions such as farmers, engineers and firefighters.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Courtney's campaign has spent $410,807 in operating expenditures; Hopkins-Cavanagh's has spent $21,695.

Only one of Courtney's itemized disbursements explicitly mentions advertising - $3,200 paid to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee. Hopkins-Cavanagh, meanwhile, lists the purchase of buttons, banners and yard signs, along with $464 worth of boosted or promoted posts on Facebook.


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