They bumped into each other at “clean elections” events. Now Chris Campbell is running Gary Holder-Winfield’s mayoral campaign—a campaign fueling the tank with unleaded public financing.
Campbell, who is 31 (and pictured above at a clean-elections event outside City Hall Thursday afternoon), has signed on as manager of Holder-Winfield’s campaign for the Democratic mayoral nomination. Holder-Winfield, a Newhallville state representative, is set to square off against former city development chief Henry Fernandez and East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker in a Sept. 10 primary. At least one other prominent Democrat is expected to enter the race; a plumber named Sundiata Keitazulu has also filed papers to run. The candidates seek to replace incumbent Mayor John DeStefano, who plans to retire at the end of the year after two decades in office.
Campbell said he first discussed the manager’s job with Holder-Winfield at a campaign finance reform rally a month and a half ago. He said he knew of Holder-Winfield’s role at the state Capitol in promoting public financing of elections, a system touted as a way to counterbalance the influence of wealthy private interests on the democratic process.
“He’s a hero on campaign finance reform. He speaks around the country on this,” said Campbell, who would bump into Holder-Winfield at events.
Campbell grew up on the shoreline. He said he worked in Denver for the left-leaning cyber-roots group MoveOn.org in 2006 then for a Colorado-based political consulting firm. He said he moved back here a year and a half ago and lives in Wooster Square. His most recent gig was running a national campaign-reform group called Wolf-Pac. Click here for a story about a New Haven public hearing at which he testified that “corporations are not people, money is not speech, and our democracy should not be for sale”; click on the play arrow to watch an appearance he made on The Young Turks to discuss a “corporations are not people” resolution introduced in New Haven.
And click here and here for recent stories about the clean-elections issue in New Haven’s Democratic mayoral primary. Holder-Winfield and Elicker have signed up to participate in the Democracy Fund, the city’s public-financing system.
Participants in the fund agree to to limit individual contributions to $370 and swear off special-interest money in return for public campaign dollars. Candidates who collect at least 200 donations of at least $10 can quality for a $19,000 grant from the Fund plus matching dollars. The Fund matches the first $25 of donations at a rate of two to one.