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Carolina Launches Clean-Money “Marathon”

by Paul Bass | May 3, 2013 5:01 pm

(3) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Campaign 2013

One mayoral candidate reported collecting enough contributions to qualify for New Haven’s clean-elections public-financing program, while a second readied a 24-hour “marathon” to do the same.

The first candidate, Gary Holder-Winfield, collected contributions of at least $10 from more than 200 New Haveners in order to qualify for the program, according to his treasurer, Christine Bartlett-Josie. As of April 30, 207 New Haven voters had contributed a total of over $10,000 to the campaign, out of some $17,000 raised overall, she said. She submitted documentation of the New Haven contributions this week to Ken Krayeske, administrator of the Democracy Fund, which runs the public-financing program. If he certifies the documentation next week, the Holder-Winfield campaign will receive its first $19,000 grant from the fund.

Candidates who participate in the Democracy Fund agree to limit individual contributions to $370 (rather than $1,000) and swear off outside committees’ money in return for receiving matching public dough.

The fund, the state’s only municipal public-financing program, gets its biggest test to date in this year’s Democratic mayoral primary race. Alderman Justin Elicker has already qualified for the fund and begun receiving public money, already more than ever collected by a New Haven mayoral candidate. Two other candidates, Sundiata Keitazulu and Kermit Carolina, have also promised to participate in the program, which aims to enable more candidates to compete for public office against wealthy or well-funded office-seekers.

Paul Bass Photo Carolina, who officially entered the race this week, is hoping to catapult to qualifying for the program and begin receiving public money with a 24-hour “marathon” fundraiser (broken into two 12-hour segments) on Friday and Saturday. The campaign has emailed supporters and spread the word that sympathetic New Haven voters should drop off campaign contributions (of between $10 and $370) at 773 Dixwell until 8 p.m. Friday or between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. Bethany Watkins (pictured urging supporters to sign up at a campaign event last month), Carolina’s field operations director, said the goal is to reach the 200-person threshold and obtain the first $19,000 Democracy Fund grant in order to kick the campaign into gear.

Asked Friday if he has reached that threshold yet, candidate Keitazulu replied, “not yet.” He said he has collected “about 50” campaign contributions.

Three Democratic candidates have opted not to participate in the Democracy Fund, and therefore can accept individual contributions of up to $1,000 as well as donations from political committees: state Sen. Toni Harp, former city economic development chief Henry Fernandez, and former Chamber of Commerce President Matthew Nemerson. Read about that here.

All seven are seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination in a Sept. 10 primary to succeed retiring two-decade incumbent Mayor John DeStefano.

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posted by: factsifter on May 3, 2013  6:01pm

This democracy fund better be worth it!

posted by: anonymous on May 3, 2013  10:11pm

No progressive voter would choose one of the “Big Money” candidates. They shouldn’t even bother to answer the door when their paid staff come knocking, McMahon-style, with expensive color brochures.

Glad there are three good candidates willing to step up and retain their ethical principles - we’ll have some choices.

posted by: GoodNatured on May 6, 2013  11:38am

I’m impressed that Carolina committed to the Democracy Fund.  He, Holder-Winfield, and Elicker are all dynamic candidates who COULD get big donations and have instead promised to take on the burdens of the Democracy Fund.

It’s easier to raise money from big outside donors.  It’s hard to turn down money when deep pocket donors offer.  Carolina, Holder-Winfield and Elicker have all shown they have the character and backbone to lead a clean government for the city.

As far as I’m concerned—Harp, Fernandez and Nemerson work for their paymasters.  Carolina, Holder-Winfield, and Elicker will work for us, the people of New Haven.

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