New Canaan resident Michael Handler is poised to take an important step forward in his bid for the Connecticut governor’s seat, as his campaign announced Monday that it has surpassed a key fundraising threshold.
By exceeding $250,000 in qualifying contributions—none of which came from lobbyists or state contractors—the Republican is expected to qualify for public financing under the Citizens’ Election Program or ‘CEP.’
“I am extremely proud of the support that our campaign continues to receive,” Handler said in a press release. “Clearly, our message is resonating—the challenges we face as a state are fixable. I will address our threatening fiscal situation, reduce taxes and excessive regulations, and attract new businesses to our state. As CFO of Stamford, I fixed the mess Dan Malloy left behind after 14 years as mayor. I will do it again as your governor.”
Designed to ensure the integrity of elections in Connecticut, candidates for statewide offices and those in the legislature under the opt-in CEP program receive full public financing in exchange for agreeing to certain guidelines, such as contribution and expenditure limits.
Handler announced his candidacy in July and—apart from times such as in recent days when he wears his New Canaan emergency management director hat—has spent much of the intervening months meeting in private and small groups throughout Connecticut and participating in multiple GOP candidate debates.
A father of four girls who is married to his wife, Sarah, Handler is employed as director of administration for Stamford. He retired from a 15-year career on Wall Street in 2007 to enter public service.
Under the CEP, his fundraising has been marked by high numbers of small donations.
Handler has raised $265,000, more than enough to qualify for a “pre-application review” under CEP.
The review is expected to allow Handler to qualify for funding in advance of the grant application season in May.