The New York Times this morning is running a strong and positive story about Connecticut’s Clean Elections program, spelling out its ability to level the playing field among candidates and reduce their need to constantly ask for money.The state this year became the third, after Maine and Arizona, to implement full public financing of statewide elections.
In the article “Connecticut Hopefuls Flock to Public Financing,” Peter Applebome reports:
“At a time when roughly half the states are seriously considering public financing of campaigns, Connecticut’s initial experience has exceeded expectations of even its most enthusiastic supporters. Of the 343 candidates running in the General Assembly elections, 258 – about 75 percent – are seeking public financing.”
Indeed, Connecticut’s experience could be more influential than Sen. Barack Obama’s widely-publicized decision to opt out of the system in his run for the presidency, writes Applebome.
The story focuses on the benefits of Clean Elections for candidates. He quotes Art House, a Democrat running for the Eight Senate District. “(P)olitics doesn’t have to be a money game where you spend all your time on the phone dialing for dollars instead of meeting people, talking about issues and campaigning.”
And Chris Cotu, a Republican running for state representative, notes that Clean Elections offers challengers a level playing field with incumbents. “Now you’ve both got your money, and you can focus on the issues and the voters instead of being out begging for money.”