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Norwich mayoral campaign finance reports show incumbent Nystrom with cash lead

Norwich — Incumbent Republican Mayor Peter Nystrom has a significant lead in campaign fundraising over Democratic Council President Pro Tempore Mark Bettencourt, but Nystrom’s totals are boosted by the $10,000 advance he and his wife contributed at the start of the election season.

Campaign finance reports for the period from July 1 through Sept. 30, filed at City Hall by Tuesday’s deadline, showed that Nystrom’s campaign committee, Nystrom for Norwich 21, has raised a total of $23,570 by the end of the reporting period. Bettencourt for Mayor 2021, raised a total of $8,700, including $1,000 he advanced to the campaign.

Both candidates have received numerous individual contributions, ranging from $20 to $500 from family members, local business owners and fellow politicians. A former state representative, Nystrom has received a $500 donation from former Connecticut Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Stefanowski and $100 from state Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme.

Both mayoral candidates have hired campaign consultants, a first for Nystrom, he said. Bettencourt has engaged the Manchester firm Blue Edge Strategies LLC, headed by Michael Farina, a longtime Democratic political consultant in the state. Nystrom has hired Norwich-based marketing firm, Miranda Creative, which has done marketing work for the city in recent years.

Bettencourt’s committee is paying Blue Edge monthly consulting fees, as well as payments for campaign materials, such as signs, fliers and Facebook ads. His campaign has paid the firm $3,866 during the past reporting period. Nystrom’s committee has paid Miranda Creative $1,500 during the same time period.

Both candidates said having the consultant to take care of campaign materials, signs, flyers and door hangers and advertisements frees them up to spend more time talking with voters directly. Bettencourt said it’s also very helpful during the coronavirus pandemic, when it is difficult to get volunteers together to work on campaigns.

Holding large campaign fundraisers during the pandemic also is not possible. Nystrom said he has avoided the traditional campaign fundraiser events, while Bettencourt said he is holding only small house party fundraisers.

c.bessette@theday.com

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