Presidential Campaigns Cost Hartford, Bridgeport Thousands

NBC Connecticut

Connecticut became one of the must-visit states of the presidential primary season.

The state wasn’t expected to factor into either the Democratic or Republican presidential primary results, but longer than expected journeys to the nominations led to Connecticut receiving heightened attention from just about all of the major campaigns.

Those visits came with price tags that the cash-strapped cities like Hartford and Bridgeport won’t be able to recover.

"It's a double edged sword," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, a Democrat who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. "On the one hand it is a significant cost but it's also the cost of Democracy."

Bridgeport saw the largest overall burden for overtime. Combined Trump and Clinton rallies cost the city $74,000.

In Hartford, Trump’s rally at the XL Center required additional Hartford Police and Fire Department support to handle the crowds inside and protesters outside the event.

According to a Hartford Police Spokesman, the arena contracted with Hartford Police for assistance and those bills have been paid. The City of Hartford however was left paying for a total of $34,824.94 for Trump’s visit.

Hillary Clinton spent one day in Hartford for a roundtable about gun violence and she met with members of the community at a North End restaurant. The visit cost city taxpayers $10,339.63. A separate visit from her husband, former President Bill Clinton, cost $772.55.

Bernie Sanders held one campaign rally in Hartford down along the Connecticut River. Since that event was entirely city-operated because of the venue, the city owed $14,924.57 in overtime pay to officers.

Bronin said it’s not typical for a city to simply turn away high profile political events.

"We have a responsibility to keep our residents safe. I think we have a responsibility as part of a Democracy to make sure political discourse is vibrant. It's not a bad thing that it's happening here but obviously the costs are significant."

According to the Secret Service, it’s been standard operating procedure for years that individual cities and towns that host Secret Service Protectees handle the costs of their visits. A spokesperson told NBC Connecticut the agency consults with the local law enforcement agencies and arrangements are then made butt the agency does not have a budget to reimburse local departments for overtime.

Bronin said he wishes that was possible.

"There is not a question I would love for the campaigns to reimburse us the costs on the other hand we can't really make that a condition of their being here."

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