HARTFORD — With the election for governor a little more than a year away, there is a close race in Connecticut to raise campaign contributions among Republicans considering running for the office.
Three of the four major contenders each raised about $30,000 by Sept. 30. They are state Senate minority leader John McKinney of Fairfield, Greenwich businessman Tom Foley, and state Senator Toni Boucher of Wilton.
The fourth, Mayor Mark Boughton of Danbury, raised $14,545.
McKinney, who has declared his candidacy, said Friday that his campaign has raised $90,000 after holding four additional fund-raising events since Oct. 1. He must raise $250,000 in small contributions of $100 or less to qualify for public campaign financing.
“I’m pleased that so many people — Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters — are responding to our message of change,” McKinney said.
Foley, Boughton, and Boucher have each formed exploratory committees and have said they plan to seek public financing if they decide to run for governor. Governor Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, has not said whether he plans to seek a second term.
State records show that Foley, the GOP’s 2010 candidate, raised $30,566 between Aug. 31 and Sept. 30; Boucher raised $29,662 between Aug. 16 and Sept. 30; and McKinney raised $33,087 between July 13 and Sept. 30.
The exploratory candidates will be able to use the money they raise now to help qualify for public financing. Gubernatorial candidates in Connecticut are eligible for at least $1.25 million for a primary and $6 million for the general election.
Besides raising money, records show the Republicans are also spending some of it already. McKinney’s campaign, for example, has spent $5,000 on a New Jersey fund-raising consultant, Tusk Productions Inc., while Foley spent $10,555 on a West Hartford direct mail solicitor, Cricket Press.
Boughton pointed out how he raised the $14,545, between Aug. 14 and Sept. 30, while he was also raising money for his mayoral reelection campaign. He has amassed $70,075 for his mayoral bid. The municipal election is Nov. 5.
“I am grateful for the generosity of my supporters,” said Boughton.
Boucher called her fund-raising efforts “a great start,” and said her message about “raising the standard of our state government is resonating very clearly.”