Financial support for at least some of the primary challengers this year will come from the state’s embattled Citizens’ Election Program (CEP).

Connecticut’s voluntary public campaign finance program was first available to legislative candidates in 2008; this year, candidates for governor and other statewide constitutional offices are eligible.

While a federal judge last year ruled the program unconstitutional, he agreed to let it continue running as the state’s appeal is being considered. Several candidates have qualified and are participating in the CEP.

Eligibility for CEP funds is based on candidates passing a threshold amount of donations of up to $100 each (thresholds vary according to office sought).

Major-party candidates for governor who qualify both for a primary and the program can receive up to $1.25 million from the program; other qualifying state-office candidates can receive up to $375,000 each; candidates for state Senate and House qualify for as much as $15,000 and $5,000, respectively.

CEP-qualifying candidates who win their party primaries are immediately eligible for additional funds for the general election.

If the courts uphold the judge’s ruling, it’s likely the state legislature will quickly reconvene to pass a program fix.

For more information, contact Kevin Hennessy at 860.244.1979 or kevin.hennessy@cbia.com.