Small Money Fueling Gerratana Campaign

Tom Hopkins, Staff Writer

In the race for the state Senate’s sixth district, Democratic Incumbent Senator Terry Gerratana has relied on small-dollar donations from her in-state supporters.

According to recently filed campaign finance documents, Gerratana’s campaign has received contributions from almost 200 supporters. With an average contribution of less than $6 and a high of just $20, Gerratana’s campaign has raised over $1,000 to help her campaign against Republican challenger Robert Smedley.

Gerratana’s campaign also received a $95,710 contribution from the Citizen’s Election Program (CEP). The money from the CEP comes mostly from the sale of abandoned property the state has taken custody of. The CEP provides public funding to candidates with the intention of encouraging citizens to participate in elections and to keep private money out of Connecticut’s local politics. The hefty contribution has helped Gerratana keep the lights on at her campaign headquarters in New Britain.

Gerratana’s greatest expenditure, however, has been on the services of New Haven-based campaign consulting firm DNA Campaigns, LLC. Gerratana’s campaign has spent over $15,000 for the firm’s services since August.

Gerratana has held the state Senate seat since 2011, representing the people of New Britain, Farmington and Berlin. She is poised to hang on to the seat, as her only challenger has no campaign money of his own. Smedley, currently an alderman of the New Britain Common Council, inserted himself into the state senate race back in May with the endorsement of the Republican Sixth District Convention but has failed to make any noise since then.

During her last campaign in 2014, Gerratana routinely pulled in higher dollar contributions of $25, $50 and even $100 from over 400 supporters, but times have changed. Gerratana’s campaign contributions in 2018 are mostly $5 donations, compared to an average donation of nearly $40 in 2014.

The number of contributing supporters to Gerratana’s campaign has also dropped. The 179 contributions she received for her 2018 campaign is less than half of her total number of contributions in 2014. The drop in contributions and average dollar amount of contributions could be due to the fact she lacks any real challenge to her seat in this upcoming election.

Residents of the sixth district will have the opportunity to cast their ballots for either Gerratana or Smedley to represent them as their state senator, and a whole slew of other races, on Nov. 6. The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.