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.
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.