With backing from different factions in New Haven’s Democratic Party, Gary Holder-Winfield reported collecting $17,532—and filed for public financing—in his quest to win a special election for state senator.
The election takes place Feb. 25. The Democrats have nominated Holder-Winfield, who’s currently a state representative, to fill the 10th State Senate District seat. The seat became vacant last month when its longtime occupant, Toni Harp, became mayor of New Haven.
Republicans have nominated Steven R. Mullins (pictured), a West Haven property manager, for the seat. Mullins said he’s making a serious run for the seat in the Democratic-heavy district. He said he plans to file his own papers for public financing Tuesday. Under the state Citizens Election Program, candidates need to raise $11,250 from at least 225 donors to qualify for public financing in the race. Those who qualify then receive a $71,250 grant.
“We’ve got a few thousand to go,” said Mullins. He raised around $4,700 on Sunday alone, he said.
Holder-Winfield’s financial filing covered the month of January. It showed his campaign with $13,687.29 on hand out of the $17,532 raised.
Click here to read Holder-Winfield’s full filing. The cast of contributing characters reflects the independent path Holder-Winfield has walked since he was first elected to the legislature in 2008.
His contributors included supporters of last fall’s Harp mayoral campaign, such as UNITE/HERE Local 34 President Laurie Kennington, labor organizer Gwen Mills, Westville Alder Adam Marchand, Dwight Alder Frank Douglass, Hill Alder Andrea Jackson-Brooks, West River Alder Tyisha Walker, Wooster Square Alder Aaron Greenberg, Hill Alder Dolores Colon, Downtown Alder Sarah Eidelson, Beaver Hills party ward Co-Chair Audrey Tyson, transition team Chair Edward Joyner, economic development chief Matthew Nemerson, and UNITE/HERE staffers including Melissa Mason, John Canham-Clyne, and Scott Marks. (Holder-Winfield himself supported Harp.)
Holder-Winfield’s campaign treasurer, meanwhile, is Michael Pinto, who was a prominent supporter of Justin Elicker’s mayoral campaign. Westville ward Co-Chair Michael Slattery, another Elicker supporter, contributed, as did Elicker himself, as well as East Rock writer (and Elicker pig-roast host) Jack Hitt. One of Holder-Winfield’s campaign fundraisers took place at the home Prospect Hill/Newhallville Alder Michael Stratton, who served as Elicker’s campaign finance chair. New Haven activists like Kevin Ewing, Curlena McDonald, Beatrice Codianni, and Dorthula Green contributed as well, as did developer James Albis and Michael Schaffer. Charlie Pillsbury, who held a campaign event for mayoral candidate Henry Fernandez, also ponied up for Holder-Winfield.
“What I’m always trying to do is reach out to everybody. ... I think that’s displayed by what comes back to us,” Holder-Winfield said in a conversation Monday.
His state Capitol contacts came in handy, too. Holder-Winfield collected contributions from state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, New Haven state Reps. Toni Walker and Roland Lemar, New Haven state Sen. Martin Looney, state Rep. Lou Esposito, activist Tessa Marquis of Milford, state budget chief Ben Barnes of Stratford, state Rep. Hilda Santiago, state Rep. Robert Sanchez, gubernatorial criminal-justice adviser Michael Lawlor, lobbyists such as Chris DePino and Paul Nunez, among others.
The report shows Holder-Winfield (pictured) picking up 11 checks from employees of Star Distributors, each of whom gave either $50 or $100:
• Thomas O’Neill, Hamden.
• Jimmie Piscitelli, vice-president of sales, Northford.
• Mark Mattei, vice-president of sales, North Haven.
• Anthony DeMayo, sales director, Woodbridge.
• Andrew Assermely, national accounts manager, Killingworth.
• Peter Gallo, vice-president, Litchfield.
• Patricia Castellano, credit manager, Hamden.
• Lucy Baptista, marketing manager, Clinton.
• Kim Brezinski, office assistant, North Haven.
• Joanne Cole, service manager, Milford.
• Anthony Gallo, CEO, Orange.
Holder-Winfield visited the beer distributor in West Haven last month to discuss the company’s concerns about state legislation. CEO Gallo said he and his employees were impressed enough to contribute to his special-election campaign.
“Gary was good. He listened. He didn’t comment or confirm one way or another. He heard. We tried to educate him as best we could,” Gallo said Monday.
“He’ll do the right thing, even if it’s not popular. In whatever issue there is.”
Among the company’s positions: It wants the state to roll back the bottle bill—not expand it to juice packets and milk cartons, as one current proposal would do. The bottle bill slaps a redeemable five-cent surcharge on beverage bottles. Gallo argued that the bottle bill has hidden costs. “Everybody thinks, including the legislators, that the bottle bill runs for nothing. It’s on the back of the wholesalers to run it. Once the bottles get back to the store, they have to be retrieved. They have to transported. They have to crushed or baled. They have to be put on the open market. ... Every time you put a bottle in the machine in the front of the grocery store, the wholesaler pays the store 22 and a half cents a case to run those machines. They won’t allow your bottles in the machine unless you pay them.” Any rollback would have to address the concerns of municipalities, which would pick up the extra recycling costs, Gallo continued: They lose money on recycling glass and some plastics (though not aluminum).
“I thought he had a lot of good values. Some of them don’t stand for anything. He knew what he was talking about. I hope Gary wins. He seems like a very nice guy,” said service manager Cole.
Holder-Winfield said he made no commitments to the group at Star. “They wanted the ability to have a conversation. They don’t feel like they always have that ability,” he said. “I sit down with everybody. “