Dan Malloy’s exploratory committee today reported that they’ve raised $129,675 between Feb. 4th and March 31st, and that they have around $105,000 on hand at present.
This is a whole new campaign finance ballpark, of course. According to these guidelines for treasurers from 2008 (PDF) an exploratory committee can begin raising qualifying contributions (contributions from a candidate’s “district,” in this case the entire state), which for the governor’s race equals $225,000 (see this overview of 2010 for more). There are some restrictions on what candidates can raise during the exploratory phase, including a per-person contribution limit of $375.
If more than $250,000 is raised by the committee, they have to give the balance to the Citizens’ Election Fund (any debts are their own, however), and refund any donation amount over $100 back to the donor. Malloy reports raising money from 509 donors, which gives him an average of about $255/donation. Some of that money is going back.
UPDATE 2: The above is incorrect, I misread the (admittedly unclear) rules about exploratory committees, which are not all that robust to begin with. Apparently, a candidate’s exploratory committee could raise as much money as possible, and then spend all of it. The only money in question that would either be given to the candidate committee or to the Citizens’ Election Fund would be whatever surplus of qualifying contributions the exploratory committee has on hand once the candidate declares his/her candidacy. If Malloy, for instance, raises $1 million and spends all but $260,000 of it, and that $260,000 is all qualifying contributions, $250,000 would go on to the candidate committee and the rest would go to the Citizens’ Election Fund. But if he raises that much money and spends all of it, no money would go anywhere.
Right now, there are no real rules for what money raised by an exploratory committee can be spent on, though I’m sure that will become clearer as the campaigns progress.
I expect Malloy and Bysiewicz will both have all the qualifying donations they need set up before their official announcements, however.
I believe that this is the way it works based on the available literature, though any experts should feel free to correct me. We have yet to see fundraising numbers from Bysiewicz, Amann or Rell, which will be interesting for comparison purposes.
To be fair, her committee hasn’t exactly been active, but she did very well with fundraising for the 2006 cycle. This cycle, at least so far, she’s lagging behind. Hmm.
Does it mean anything in the new world of public financing? I’m not entirely sure that it does. But I’m not entirely sure that it doesn’t, either.