"We're going to play by the rules [the Democrats] just created," he says of Connecticut Republicans. "We'll do the best we can, but it will be nothing compared to what they'll be able to raise."

Cafero says it hasn't been decided yet just whose hand will be on the spigot of the state Republican Party's money pool.

Looney says the same about the Democratic side.

"I don't think there's been any meeting of the minds on that issue yet," he explains. Looney believes that everybody is going to want to have a say in how the money is handed out: the governor's campaign, legislative leaders, constitutional officers, even local party types.

"It's all going to be negotiated as we go along," says Looney, adding, "Some of it could be influenced by who is the most effective in raising additional money for the parties."

Cafero and other political observers are damned sure who will have the biggest say in controlling Democratic party dollars. "Everyone knows the governor is the titular head of that party," Cafero says. "As to who's calling the shots, it's Malloy... Dan Malloy, Dan Malloy, Dan Malloy."

"I think as titular head of the party, he has a lot of influence," Occhiogrosso says of Malloy. "As governor, he's been a strong figure… and he's taken a lot of interest in helping other Democrats get elected."

So Malloy may be looking to have the best of both worlds. He could accept public campaign financing and proclaim himself a champion of clean elections; and he could also direct lots of special interest contributions to the state party, which can then funnel that cash back to Malloy if he's facing big-spending opposition.

One longtime Connecticut Republican privately describes it this way: "He can claim virginity while still whoring out."

Kind of like what a lot of Connecticut politicians will be trying to do next year.



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