State Rep. Brian Becker (D) is running against Republican placeholder candidate Jon Landry, of Farmington, who is not campaigning or spending money to promote his candidacy.
But Becker – a West Hartford resident who represents his hometown, Avon and Farmington in the 19th House District of the Connecticut General Assembly – is still spending money on signs, pamphlets, office space and other campaign expenses. He said he is still actively campaigning as necessary, but he is "scaling back," sending out fewer mailings and spending less as a result of Landry's placeholder status.
“I really haven’t changed my approach very much because I like to get out and talk to my constituents and go door to door," Becker, 50, said Oct. 22. “I think that it's important that a representative should be out in touch with his or her constituents whether I have an opponent or not."
Since the Republicans had until mid-October to find a candidate to run instead of Landry, 37, Becker said he "didn't want to take any chances" by not campaigning. He knocked on more than 7,100 doors to speak with constituents since May and appeared at public forums.
After the election is over, Becker plans on donating any leftover campaign finances to the Citizens' Election Program fund. Becker said he received about a $26,000 grant through the program to help finance his campaign.
The program is the source of public financing for participating Connecticut General Assembly candidates who agree to spend no more than the total of the grant received and $5,000 in campaign fundraising. The $5,000 has to come from at least 150 different donors who contribute no more than $100 each.
The amount of public financing money candidates receive depends on what office they are running for.
The fund is "fueled primarily from the proceeds of the sale of abandoned property in the State of Connecticut’s custody, as well as voluntary donations," according to the commission's overview of the program. It was created as a way to even the playing field and limit campaign spending for participants.
The Republican party nominated Landry to run against Becker for 19th District to keep an available slot on the ballot in the event that someone else stepped up to run by the deadline.
"Nobody stepped up and wanted to run, but I decided to leave my name on the ballot in order to give the voters a choice," Landry previously said. “I had no intention of running a campaign.”
Landry filed a form with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission excusing him from having to form a campaign committee or spending any money on promoting his candidacy. He previously said he is focusing on running fellow Farmington resident and State Rep. Bill Wadsworth's 21st District campaign on the Republican ticket.