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Statewide Cash Fuels Harp Campaign

by Thomas MacMillan | Oct 14, 2013 2:23 pm

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

Posted to: Campaign 2013

Thomas MacMillan In the race to become New Haven’s next mayor, Toni Harp has been filling her campaign war chest by tapping into a statewide network of donors. Justin Elicker continues to draw largely from his East Rock neighborhood base.

Harp raised a total of $81,605 from from individual donors between Sept. 3 and Oct. 3, $58,825 of it from within the state but outside of New Haven. That doesn’t include another $17,500 Harp took in from committees, almost all of which are headquartered outside of the city.

Elicker, meanwhile, gathered most of his cash during the same period from within New Haven. He collected $86,443 from New Haveners, and only $6,875 from elsewhere in Connecticut.

Both campaigns collected a few thousand dollars each from outside the state.

Those figures emerge from an analysis of the latest campaign finance disclosure statements in the mayor’s race. Voters head to the polls on Nov. 5.

The filings show that Elicker is more than keeping pace with Harp’s fundraising, despite eschewing committee cash and limiting donations to $370 or less ( to continue conforming with the rules of the voluntary public-financing system, the Democracy Fund, which offered him matching money in the Democratic primary). He equaled Harp in September fundraising largely by continuing to draw from his strong base of support in East Rock. Elicker represents East Rock on the Board of Aldermen. Harp has been a state senator for 21 years; she co-chairs the legislature’s powerful Appropriations Committee.

At the end of the filing period, the Elicker campaign had nearly $80,000 on hand while Harp’s campaign was slightly in debt. Read more about that here.

State Of The Race

A map of Harp’s individual donors—not counting committee donations—shows the extent of her support in the state. During the month of September, she pulled in donations from New Haven suburbs, as well as towns farther away in Connecticut, including the Hartford area.

Elicker statewide donor map (pictured) shows that his September support came almost entirely from New Haven. He also tapped a cluster of donors in New Canaan, his hometown.

Within the city limits, Harp found a citywide smattering of donors citywide, with her strongest support coming from in and around Westville.

Harp collected from 135 New Haveners in September and 199 statewide. Elicker had 551 New Haven donors and only 39 statewide. Elicker had more donors from out of state, but collected less from them than Harp. (See chart at top of story.)

Not only did Harp have more statewide donors; they contributed more. Harp collected more than twice as much, on average, from her donors outside of New Haven than from New Haveners. She collected the most, on average, from her out-of-state donors, and ended up with an overall average donation size 1.3 times larger than Elicker. Elicker’s supporters, meanwhile, gave roughly the same amount regardless of their location.

Elicker collected most of his money not just in town, but in a single neighborhood: East Rock. He also found support in Westville, the East Shore, and Fair Haven Heights.

Cross-referencing Elicker’s donor map with a map of New Haven by race (based on census information, by way of the University of Virginia) shows that Elicker continues to draw his support largely from New Haven’s predominantly white neighborhoods. Elicker is white; Harp is African-American. (Click here for a story on the race’s racial dynamic.)

A side-by-side look at the two campaign’s proportional breakdown shows how different their donor bases are. The vast majority of Elicker’s individual donors live in New Haven. The majority of Harps donors live in the state, outside of New Haven.

Again, all of the charts above deal only with individual donations, and do not include money from committees or from the Democracy Fund. More on that below.

Contractors, Lobbyists, Committees

In the primary election, Elicker ran as a Democracy Fund candidate, taking part in the city’s voluntary public-financing program. He didn’t accept donations of more than $370 and took no money from committees. In exchange, he received Democracy Fund grant money and matching funds. In the general election, Elicker is no longer a Demcracy Fund candidate but is voluntarily abiding by the same restrictions.

(The most recent filing period includes a week before the primary, when Elicker was still a Democracy Fund candidate, and received $3,530 from the fund.)

Harp is not and was not a Democracy Fund candidate. So she has accepted donations of up to $1,000, plus money from committees.

Despite Harp’s fundraising advantages, she and Elicker were neck-and-neck during the month of September. Elicker took in $100,353, counting money from the Democracy Fund. Harp took in $100,405, counting $1,300 from sales of advertising, not included on these charts. (Harp’s total is lower than reported last week, partly because her campaign had mistakenly listed a $250 donation as a $3,875 donation.)

Now that he’s no longer a Democracy Fund candidate, Elicker’s campaign is fueled entirely by individual donations (rather than matching government money as well). Of those individual donors in the last filing period, two are city contractors, and one is a lobbyist. Elicker took in $150 from the contractors and $50 from the lobbyist.

Harp’s campaign is more popular with city contractors and lobbyists. She tapped 46 contractors and 12 lobbyists, collecting $15,695 and $2,600 from those groups, respectively.

Harp collected $17,500 from committees, mostly from unions. Her committee donations:

CT Correction Employees, Middletown, $1,000
Ct Association of Optometrists, Hartford, $1,500
Congress Political Action Fund, Hartford, $1,000
Robinson & Cole State, Hartford, $1,000
Connecticut Health Care - District 1199, Hartford, $750
SEIU Local 32BJ Connecticut, New York, $1,500
IUPAT, Berlin, $500
IRON PAC 424, North Haven, $1,500
CT State Council of Machinists MNPL, Kensington, $250
Connecticut AFL-CIO OPC Account, Rocky Hill, $500
New Haven Firefighters, New Haven, $1,000
SEIU State Council PAC, Hartford, $750
Operating Engineers Continuing, New Haven, $1,500
AFT Connecticut, Rocky Hill, $1,500
Central CT Carpenters, Yalesville, $1,500
Carpenters Local 210, Monroe, $250
IBEW Local Union 90, Wallingford, $1,500

The next campaign filing deadline is Oct. 29.

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posted by: robn on October 14, 2013  3:19pm

77% of Harps donations continue to pour in from outside of New Haven. Wake up New Haven, you’re about to be pirated.

posted by: anonymous on October 14, 2013  3:21pm

Facts are facts. While Elicker had a concentration of donors in East Rock, East Shore, Fair Haven, and Westville, he also out-raised Harp in almost every other neighborhood in the city, if you look at number of donations by neighborhood.

posted by: webblog on October 14, 2013  3:52pm

With twenty two years on contacts build up around the state of CT. I’m not surprised at Harp’s ledger at all. Furthermore, where and how much money is donated to the candidates is secondary to where, the count of votes come from.

The C$$H is one third of the equasion, the deciding two thirds is indicated here:

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/nhi_election_results/

If money buy’s influence in the city of New Haven, one could argue that Elicker’s influence is too concentrated, and leaves out two thirds of the city in an attempt to be heard. Don’t you think we contribute enough to Yale already??

posted by: Jon on October 14, 2013  4:44pm

Harp’s fundraising reflects someone running for statewide office, not elected office in New Haven. 

While Elicker’s fundraising is primarily concentrated in one part of New Haven, at least, it is in New Haven.

posted by: cityres on October 14, 2013  4:51pm

If Harp does win she’ll have a lot of favors to repay. New Haven’ers will be at the bottom of the list. Just another TOO well connected politician.

posted by: Fairhavener on October 14, 2013  5:35pm

Harp will be the Mayor for the people—the people of outside of New Haven that is.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on October 14, 2013  7:39pm

I would not read too much into the data gathered here about campaign contributions in this race. Most voters have never contributed to a political campaign. Most in the black and Hispanic New Haveners cannot afford to contribute to a political campaign.
Many people in Westville and East Rock have the means to voice their political support with their checkbooks, when a large per centage of New Haveners don’t even have a bank account of any kind.
I am reminded of a Gospel song sung by the late, great singer Mahalia Jackson: “If religion was a thing money could buy, the rich would live and the poor would die.”
Wealthy people make political contributions and like some other special interest groups, they too expect something in return for their investment. That does not mean that any of them will necessarily ever get it. People in East Rock have certain expectations from Justin Elicker which are major concerns for that section of the city. So spare us all this noble and clean hands talk. Everybody wants something from government. The task is to pick people who demonstrate honesty, character and integrity. Let Elicker say if elected he might have to raise taxes in East Rock and his tidal wave of financial support there would dry up like the Sahara desert!
The portrait is being painted that Toni Harp will be a servant of committees, contractors, lobbyists, out of towners and out of staters, simply because a large number of her supporters, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, senior citizen, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other New Haveners do have extra dollars to donate to the candidate of their choice.

posted by: HhE on October 14, 2013  9:41pm

Thomas Alfred Paine, I put it to you, what people expect from Justin Elicker in return for their support is good government, and end to pay-to-play, and transparency.  As someone who has contributed the maximum allowed, plus dozens of hours knocking on doors, if Mayor Elicker ever “helped me out” I would not be obliged, I would be repulsed.  I put it to you; your claim against him ignores his strategic vision, which has been clearly expressed, and the desires of his supporters.

posted by: anonymous on October 14, 2013  9:43pm

“Robinson & Cole State, Hartford, $1,000”

This is the law firm hired by the large megacorporations who will be making Big Money once Keno sets up shop in hundreds of corner stores and other venues next year, destroying our city fabric in order for corporations to profit.

It is absolutely shameless and unconscionable that Harp, who voted for Keno—and who justified her own vote by essentially claiming that people with gambling addiction disabilities could not be cured—would accept their money.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on October 14, 2013  10:01pm

Failure to thoroughly proofread caused me to submit an incomplete sentence at the end of my post. Here is what I meant to write:

“The portrait being painted that Toni Harp will be a servant of committees, contractors, lobbyists, out of towners and out of staters, simply because a large number of her supporters, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, senior citizen, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other New Haveners, do NOT have extra dollars to donate to the candidate of their choice is misleading and presumptive.

posted by: nhstudent4ever on October 14, 2013  10:05pm

I could be wrong, but I don’t think Elicker has promised to lower taxes. All he has said is he will very carefully look at the budget and try to come up with some creative cost saving solutions. Accepting the lowest bids for city contracts rather than the bids from a politician’s best friends is a good place to start.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on October 14, 2013  10:19pm

People who support Toni Harp support good government, transparency and “pay-to-play.” My point simply is that just because Elicker has more financial contributors from New Haven and fewer contributions from special interest groups and outsiders than Harp does not equate better government leadership.

posted by: TheMadcap on October 14, 2013  10:36pm

I don’t think anyone will argue the fact it’s not unexpected the poor parts of town don’t give to political campaigns, it’s why both Harp and Elicker have their contributions centered in wealthier neighborhoods. The question is why does Toni Harp have so many out of towners so vested in her becoming mayor. At least Elicker’s wealthy donors actually live in and have a vested interest in the city.

posted by: anonymous on October 15, 2013  7:19am

Madcap, This is simply a case of the city subsidizing the suburbs through its job centers (which are made possible by city infrastructure), high taxes/rents on low income immigrants, free/cheap parking lots, and debt. It’s how most cities work, and is the reason there is so much poverty in the city. The suburban interests are just trying to ensure that this continues to happen.

posted by: newhavenpoliticswatch on October 15, 2013  1:43pm

Just another example of how Elicker’s campaign is truly fueled by the people of this city. I just hope people in this city wake up and realize they’re being totally played by the Harp campaign; shes a sly career politician and nothing more. She will spend her years in City Hall paying people back and digging this city into a further hole.

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