Is Campaign Finance Reform Spurring More Competition?
Legislative Races: Public campaign financing system might be generating interest
Hartford Courant editorial
July 02, 2010
Connecticut's voluntary public campaign financing system appears to be living up to one of its key goals: giving voters more choices at the polls.
Figures from the secretary of the state's office show that this year's percentage of uncontested state Senate and House races (29 percent of the total of 187 seats) is lower than in 2008, when 32 percent of the races had only one major party candidate running for the House or Senate seat. This year's percentage is the lowest since 1998.
"This decline in uncontested General Assembly races means more Connecticut citizens are interested in the electoral process and running for office," said Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. "One factor that appears to be encouraging more candidates to run for office is the Citizen's Election Program and the availability of public campaign funds."
The year-over-year increase in competition between major party candidates is small and there's no hard proof that public funds available through the voluntary system are responsible for drawing more candidates.
But the trend is hopeful. More competition generally means greater public interest, and that translates into a healthier democracy.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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