This was the first general election where legislators ran with the help of public financing in Connecticut. Three-quarters of legislative candidates used more than 8 million dollars of public money to finance their campaigns.
Nearly four out of five candidates elected to the House of Representatives participated in the program, along with all but four of the 36 successful Senate candidates.
Beth Rotman is the director of the public financing program for the state Elections Enforcement Commission.
"What that means for the citizens of the state of Connecticut is they now have a legislature predominated by candidates who did not turn to special interests, lobbyists, or principals of state contractors to get elected."
To qualify for public financing, candidates had to first raise money on their own first - $5000 for the House, and $15,000 for the Senate. For both, contributions could not exceed 100 dollars.
Big-dollar contributions from individuals and labor unions still flowed to political committees, including so-called leadership PACs like the Senate Democrats Victory PAC and the House Democrats Caucus Committee. Those PACs could and did spend money on behalf of legislative candidates to cover certain campaign expenses, including consultants.
"If they're getting some sort of advising from one of these leadership groups, it has to be documented, what they're actually doing, so that would be something that the commission would have to see as part of their audit, and it would have to be clearly valued within the limit."
Not all applicants for public financing were approved. The Elections Enforcement Commission denied the applications of Senator Joseph Crisco and House of Representatives candidate John Cusano, and investigations are ongoing.
The Commission plans to hold post-election hearings on the the program beginning November 19.