An election that may or may not take place for a seat that may or may not open up—and then afford the winner just three weeks or so of actual service—has already drawn one, and may possibly two, candidates.
That election would be a special election, for the 94th District seat in the state House of Representatives. The district is almost roughly split between southern Hamden and northern New Haven (including Newhallville and portions of East Rock).
Democrat Gary Holder-Winfield currently holds that seat. He’s now running for state senator, in a different special election on Feb. 25. (Read about that here.) He faces a Republican opponent, Stephen Mullins. Because Democrats so far outnumber Republicans in New Haven, Holder-Winfield is favored to win the seat.
If he does win that election, then his 94th District state House seat opens up for a special election. That special election would probably take place in mid-April. The winner would serve in the seat through the end of the legislative session—which this year falls on May 7. Then that winner, assuming he or she wants to stay in the seat, has to run all over again—beginning with a party nominating convention in May, then with a possible party primary in August.
Former Newhallville Alderman Charles Blango said Monday that he’s ready to run. He has begun trying to round up support. Blango, who is 49 and oversees the school system’s truancy/drop-out prevention effort, served as an alderman until Delphine Clyburn knocked him out of the seat in the 2011 elections. He also ran for the state representative seat in 2008 against Holder-Winfield.
In a conversation Monday, Blango, a Democrat, identified three top campaign issues.
One: Crime. If elected, he’d revive the effort to get a state law passed allowing New Haven to use “red-light cameras” to catch speeders and crooks. Civil-libertarians killed the effort in previous years. (Read about that here.) “I want to look at the cameras again,” Blango said. “It’s not going to cost us a whole lot of money. It’s not going to take away from the police department.” The police’s Shot Spotter system, which detects gun shots, would enable New Haven to identify the best places to put cameras, he said. Click here to read about Blango’s past advocacy for neighborhood anti-crime cameras.
Two: Education. Blango called for more vocational schools in New Haven. “We have one vocational school. That’s Eli Whitney [in Hamden]. For the whole district. We have about 19,620 students. I want to look at that. Every kid is not going to go to college. There are some good vocational jobs out there.”
Three: Jobs. “We build up downtown. I just think we need to build up some of the urban” neighborhoods like along Route 34, he said.
Meanwhile, a second potential candidate emerged: Rey Harp, director of external affairs for Renaissance Management, a real-estate company founded by his late brother Wendell (the husband of current Mayor Toni Harp).
Harp said he has been “talking to people” about a possible candidacy but has not decided yet.
“We feel it’s premature to make a decision now,” he said. “The seat’s not open.”