Citizens Election Program wasn't meant to help candidates who face no competition
Hartford Courant Editorial
August 27, 2010
Connecticut's campaign finance reform, passed five years ago, was designed primarily for two reasons: to stimulate competition in running for state offices and to reduce the influence of special-interest money on the outcome of elections.
Bankrolling the campaigns of candidates who have an unobstructed route to election was not a major motive of Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the lawmakers who enacted the reform. Even so, candidates in uncontested races do receive reduced state grants under the law.
It makes no sense for the Citizens' Election Program — the formal name of the reform mechanism — to hand out checks for thousands of dollars to candidates who have no opponents. And it's a bad use of public funds when the state faces a projected budget deficit of about $3.5 billion next year.
Attempts to end the state subsidy to unopposed candidates failed during this year's session of the General Assembly. Lawmakers apparently didn't want to fiddle with the program while the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals was weighing its constitutionality.
The legislature would be wise to end the subsidy in the coming session.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at