Latest campaign finance filings detail spending in Meriden races

MERIDEN — Recently filed campaign finance disclosures show city Democrats have out-fundraised Republicans during this election cycle. However, the local Republican Party so far has outspent its opposing political party by more than $6,700 during a campaign that will decide the mayoral, City Council and Board of Education races.

Campaign finance reports filed with the City Clerk’s office also show a similar financial battle among the major political party-backed candidates in the mayoral race. Incumbent Mayor Kevin Scarpati, who is registered as unaffiliated but has been endorsed by the Democratic Party, began the month of October with a fundraising advantage of $3,500 over his Republican opponent Elain Cariati.

On Oct. 10 Scarpati’s campaign reported having gathered $13,576 in monetary receipts. Scarpati’s team began the year with a balance of $309.24. The campaign reported spending $6,266.83 between July 1 and Sept. 30, leaving it with a balance of $7,598.41 by the end of that reporting period.

Cariati’s campaign in its disclosure statement, meanwhile, reported having amassed $10,015 in monetary receipts through Sept. 30, while expending $4,458.13. The campaign reported a $5,556.87 balance at the time.  

New “7th day preceding election” disclosure forms filed this week show Cariati had significantly outspent Scarpati during the final month of the campaign. Cariati’s campaign expenditures from Oct. 1 to Oct. 24 totaled $3,432.92. Scarpati’s expenditures during that period totaled $261.38, according to those disclosures. Fundraising for both candidates significantly slowed throughout that period. Scarpati reported raising $100 during that span, while Cariati had raised $845. 

Similar campaign finance disclosures filed this week with the State Elections Enforcement Commission showed the Meriden Democratic Town Committee had raised a total of $38,822 in monetary receipts, including $33,372 in contributions from individuals, since Jan. 1. 

Republicans, meanwhile, had raised $30,061 since Jan. 1, with $15,281.20 in total monetary receipts reported from Oct. 1 to Oct. 24. The party’s fundraising total included $24,880 in individual monetary contributions. 

Campaign finance reports showed Republican coffers began the election cycle on Jan. 1 with a $10,526.61 balance. Democrats started off the campaign with a $3,726.92 balance in its war chest.

Democrats’ aggregate funds total, including the previous balance and subsequent fundraising, were $42,548.92. After deducting $31,831.47 in campaign-related expenses, Democrats had a reported balance of $10,717.45 as of Oct. 24. 

The aggregate funds total reported by local Republicans was $40,587.81. The party reported expending a total of $38,543.83, leaving its coffers with $2,043.98 in funds remaining. 

Democratic Town Chairwoman Millie Torres-Ferguson acknowledged the difference in spending between her party and that of the opposing Republican Town Committee. 

Torres-Ferguson said every year, Democratic Party-endorsed candidates are encouraged to meet voters face-to-face. “… it doesn’t cost money to talk to people. Our focus has always been face to face contact. That’s how you make the strongest impact on voters is talking to them,” Torres-Ferguson said. 

Democrats’ focus has been on printing direct mail campaign materials over lawn and other political signs. 

Sean McDonald, Republican town chairman, could not be reached for comment. 

The mainstream parties are not the only two parties to file campaign finance disclosure forms. The town committee for the Meriden Independent Party, in an Oct. 10 campaign financial disclosure form filed with the Meriden City Clerk’s office, reported raising a total $886.60 in funds, while having made no expenditures. 

Most funds expended during the race have been spent on printing services for campaign materials. Other funds have been utilized toward food for campaign volunteers and event hosting, according to a Record-Journal review of expenditures. 

Top contributors

In the mayoral race, family members have been among the most generous financial backers for each candidate, according to disclosure forms. Kevin Scarpati’s campaign reported a $1,000 donation from his brother Vincent Scarpati, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Sept. 7. 

Top contributors to Kevin Scarpati’s campaign also include Joseph Silva, of Somerville, Massachusetts. Silva contributed $1,000 to the campaign, according to financial disclosures. Bryan Kane of Meriden, Daniel Papuga of Milford and Kathryn Haase of Plymouth, Massachusetts, each contributed $500.

Disclosure forms filed by the Cariati team show that campaign received its largest contribution — $1,000 — from Cariati’s brother Donald Cariati Jr., on Sept. 9. Donald Cariati, the owner of the Wallingford-based firm Cariati Developers, had served on Meriden’s Aviation Commission and as an alternate on the Planning Commission, before he pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges in 2020. 

Elain Cariati’s campaign reported receiving a $300 contribution from John Gable of Meriden, along with a $275 from Dorene Sikorski, also from Meriden. The campaign’s top contributors also include John Uvino and Anthony Tomasetti, both of Meriden, with each contributing $200.  

Elain Cariati’s campaign did not respond to a reporter’s question regarding whether or not her campaign had accepted Donald Cariati’s contribution. 

Scarpati declined to comment specifically on that contribution while describing his own family as having been among his “biggest supporters” throughout a tenure in public office that has been continuous for more than a decade. 

“My brother donated to my campaign and is among the highest donors on my side as well,” Scarpati said. “It’s important to have your family backing you.”


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