Some Favorite Sites
Government/ Community Links
Rodriguez Drops Out Of Clerk’s Race
by Paul Bass | Sep 25, 2013 5:00 pm
Posted to: Campaign 2013
Another citywide race has dwindled to two candidates, as Sergio Rodriguez ended his campaign for city/town clerk.
Rodriguez made the announcement on his Facebook page.
“I am sorry to announce that I have removed my name from the November ballot,” he wrote. “It has been a challenging campaign in many ways. I would like to thank all who supported my candidacy and were actively involved in working, supporting or contributing to the campaign. We accomplished a great deal. We were the third highest vote getter in the primary and it was due to so many that helped throughout the campaign.”
After thanking his supporters by name, he blamed the media for his not doing better.
“We did a great job getting out the message even though the media did a very poor job of covering our race and the historic significance of this election and the transformational vision we offered to bring to the City Town Clerks [sic] position,” Rodriguez wrote. Click here, here, here, here, and here to read some of the stories written about Rodriguez’s campaign for the clerk’s job, a city position many New Haveners have never heard of.
Reached by phone earlier Wednesday, Rodriguez said he had no time to answer questions from the media. He promised to call back. He didn’t call back or answer subsequent calls for comment.
Rodriguez lost to Michael Smart in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary for the clerk position. He had secured a position on the Nov. 5 general election ballot as an independent, but has apparently chosen not to follow through with that campaign.
The current clerk, Ron Smith, is proceeding with an independent campaign for the position.
The clerk conducts roll calls at Board of Aldermen meetings and technically oversees the clerk’s office, where people file official papers ranging from lawsuits and real-estate sales to dog licenses and committee formations and petitions to run for public office. The 20-hour-a-week position pays $46,597. A full-time staff deputy, Sally Brown, actually runs the office day to day. The office has a $471,808 annual budget.
Rodriguez would have become the city’s first Latino citywide elected official if he had won the clerk’s position. He had the support of Latino elected officials in his campaign. But his campaign hit a fatal roadblock when the mayoral campaign of Toni Harp decided to position for a ballot position on a ticket with clerk candidate Smart; Harp won a decisive victory in the mayoral primary in a campaign that swept Smart along with her. Smart defeated Rodriguez 6,395 to 5,696.
Democrat Harp is now running for mayor against independent candidate Justin Elicker, the last two candidates standing in a field that previously numbered seven.
Tags: Sergio Rodriguez, Michael Smart, city clerk
Post a Comment
Senator Harp has not publicly spoken about her choice of union-backed Michael Smart over her longtime colleague (and would-be first Latino town clerk) Sergio Rodriguez. NHI, it seems like one of the quotes you should be running after right now is Toni Harp’s. What are her feelings about her friend Sergio Rodriguez and her choice of Michael Smart over Sergio to put on her slate. What criteria does she use when choosing a member of her inner slate, and can we expect these criteria to continue going forward?
posted by: Semi Semi-Dikoko on September 25, 2013 8:13pm
It is a sad to see Sergio Rodriguez withdraw his name from the ballot for the City Clerk’s office. Like the little engine, Sergio was the candidate that could! He actually framed and articulated a vision for the office. He raised and spent more or less $15,000, running against formidable odds, an opponent having tremendous resources on his side, (the DTC endorsed slate). Yet, Sergio managed to get over 48% of the primary votes for the City Clerk’s office. His chances of wining the general elections were at the least very good!
That in itself, I believe is an amazing story against tremendous odds! A story worthy of a profile in courage, ingenuity and leadership! The overachieving underdog!
Only Sergio knows his reasons for withdrawing from the race after a stellar primary performance. We wish he’d have stayed. We wish this great public servant and his family nothing but the very best!
The NHI “Staff” sounds a bit too defensive here, saying (on the homepage) that Sergio “whines about media coverage,” and citing previous NHI stories about his candidacy. I strongly suspect he was referring not to the NHI but to the Register, and probably WTNH. The NHI has indeed covered quite well the race for City Clerk. We readers know this. I think you could have reported this straight, without the testiness, and let us evaluate his remarks on our own.
In any case, Serigo’s withdrawal is a big loss for the city. He was a good alderman and would have made an active and visible City Clerk. And he probably would have had a good chance of winning, when the votes of independents were added to his primary total.
I hope he’ll consider running again, for something.
I am disappointed by the biased tone of this article. I suppose you took Mr. Rodriguez’s comments about the media as a personal affront as I can see no reason for a news account to characterize his concerns about the media as “whining”. Mr. Rodriguez apparently felt his campaign did not receive adequate coverage. While you have the right to disagree, it is inappropriate for you to report it as whining.
Likewise, rather than stating that he has chosen not to run you use negative language by stating that he has chosen “not to follow through with [his] campaign.”
Mr. Rodriguez is entitled to an apology.
Do not Blame the media.Blame the machine that you surpported all of these years.They now have no use for you.The same will happen to Ron Smith.For you.
Bobby Womack - Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out
I am sorry to learn he is dropping out. Mr. Rodriguez would have had my vote in the general election.
I concur with Semi Semi-Dikoko, citoyen, and reader209. Shame on the NHI.
I am sad to see Sergio drop out but commend him greatly for the campaign he waged against steep odds. While NHI describes it as “whining”, Sergio has a point about how the City Clerk’s race was covered—or not covered. Help me out here because I missed the NHI articles that covered the competing visions for the City Clerk’s office. I also missed the one that described how this has historically been the City’s best paid boondoggle position. I also missed the article that put each candidate on the spot and made them commit to a vision for change. When did this coverage appear? In that race you had two contrasting visions: Sergio’s, and then you were left to guess what the other vision was because the other candidate never campaigned for the office, his strategy was simply to ride Toni Harp’s coat tails to victory. And he did. Sergio was interested in making the Clerk’s position a real job, not a $46k “no show” job as has been, and will continue to be the case. As a tax payer I am not happy that someone runs for an office just to collect a no-show paycheck, while they have a “day job” elsewhere. And in Toni Harp’s defense, the petition fiasco that occurred after the DTC nomination made it impossible for her to select Sergio as a running mate since the DTC had selected Mr. Smart as its nominee. At that point, given Toni’s need to run a slate in order to secure the best ballot placement, selecting someone other than the DTC nominee was not a realistic option. But that’s another story, because some officials actively worked to undermine Sergio and make sure he did not get the nomination. Sergio, congratulations on a good campaign. I, like many of your friends and supporters, are disappointed that there was not a better outcome.
I personally enjoyed the testy and defensive tone of the article! NHI staff made their point that they covered this obscure race extensively, and that Mr. Rodriguez did not respond when given the chance to talk to the media.
NHI: Thank you for removing the accusation of “whining” from your headline. I would agree with several of the commenters above - this appeared more to be whining on the part of NHI that the honorable Mr. Rodriguez didn’t choose to call you back on your timetable.
Sergio Rodriquez was trampled by Harp’s machine for the sake of ballot order - he almost still won anyway - he stayed silent about the back stabbing - and frankly he doesn’t owe your reporters a conversation about it.
Senator Harp on the other hand….
There must be a back story here. What compels a man who had his heart, mind and soul in his campaign, who articulated a vision for the office he sought, suddenly drop out of the race? Mr. Rodriguez did not have the benefit of the party machine and all its attendant machinations, but he did have a lot of good will backing him. The David and Goliath battle that was before him leaves little wonder as to who the proverbial David was, and who would have most likely prevailed in the end. I would agree that opportunities were lost by the media to deliver a thoughtful portrait of the candidate, but that cannot be the reason he suddenly gave up on his dream and vision. One can only guess at the party pressures that were brought to bear on this candidate and his campaign, whether real or imagined. So the party machine rolls on empowered by a league of rubber stampers, CYA adherents, lackluster keepers of the status quo and an uncreative legion of bobble heads afraid to rock the boat for a better city. Sergio should reconsider and come out swinging. New Haven deserves better than the mediocre candidates that are coasting to an ultimate win-a shameful victory for themselves and the Democratic party as a whole.
Then why not call those stations out by name? Why make such a boring, vague excuse? If anything, he lost due to the Harp machine.
posted by: Semi Semi-Dikoko on September 26, 2013 11:41am
Good judgment from the NHI to remove the “whining” characterization for this great public servant. That is the level of good journalism we’ve come to expect from this great news outlet! Thank You!
The sad irony to this story, is that it also runs a poll: “Should the City Clerk’s position… be eliminated, become full time or remain part time?” Of course, no surprise that +58% of the respondent want it eliminated simply because, (according to the article), it is “a job, a city position many New Haveners have never heard of!” So, don’t we all wish that this poll would have run in the right context which is alongside a story on Sergio Rodriguez, (the only candidate that formulated and articulated a vision for said office - much akin to the role of the Secretary of the State at the state level), and his vision?
A missed opportunity to educate and inform the public and a missed opportunity to serve for a great public servant!
At least Paul Bass decided to be kind and remove “whining” from the headlines. That still doesn’t change the fact that for every 20 articles on the Mayors race there was one the clerks race.
When you treat a city-wide position the way the NHI and the NHR did this year as a second class position. Then you will get second class representation from a rubber stamp like “Unite Here Mike”.
I think its time we start a draft Sergio Movement for Toni Harps state senate seat. This way we will get first class representation from a first class candidate.
For truth Avenger:
There isn’t really a back story to Sergio dropping out, he just came to terms with the realities he faced. First, he would probably need to raise a minimum of $40,000 to mount a credible campaign, and as many have already noted, this would be to run for a position that many feel ambivalent about because of its history of no-show incumbents. More significantly, the reality is the only way Sergio wins in the November election is by getting Democratic voters to split their vote and vote for Toni and him. Not impossible, but difficult to pull off. I think it is noteworthy that almost two thousand people who voted for Toni did not vote for her running mate—that speaks volumes. Lastly, Sergio is a Democrat and he had no interest in running with someone else against a Democrat. In the end, I think this is New Haven’s loss. Sergio has been an excellent public servant—he is my Alderman—and he would have been an energetic and committed City Clerk.
It’s understandable that Sergio is a bit down. But come on. He ran a great campaign and made it very close. He’s a good guy. Hope he stays involved.
As I stated on my Facebook Page before the primary I think if anyone would make this job mean something it is Sergio. He is a class act and I am very disappointed that he is giving up this monumental task. It was an uphill battle beating the machine that is Untie Here (and if you aren’t willing to call them a machine you must admit that they have ‘machine-like tendencies’!)
I watched Sergio work for this role and I am amazed at his dedication and energy. I’m sure he is hurt by this but I know he will end up on top. Good guys always do.
As for NHI… I stopped reading your ‘reports’ on the campaign. I think it has often been a bit lopsided and at times partisan. Too much of the reporters feelings and opinions are leaking in. I used to check back several times a day to see updates. Now I’m lucky to read you 3 times a week.
Sergio Rodriguez ends his campaign for city/town clerk surreptitiously, by facebook.
No answers given.
Since the decision was certainly political, lets speculate..
One likely scenario goes like this:
Sergio takes the deal! Since Sergio lost the primary by only 6 hundred votes, it would seem likely that with incumbent Ron Smith in the general election, Mike Smart could lose.
What’s the deal…
Sergio takes a created job while awaiting the Harp seat to open. Pat Dillion runs for the Harp seat, beats down Winfield, Sergio gives up the temp job and runs for the Dillon seat.
What’s not the deal,
Sergio gives up the aldermen seat, gives up opportunity to the clerk seat, retires to Singapore…NOT….
Your speculation is interesting and comical. As for the part about Sergio running for Dillon’s seat—that sounds plausible. The part about Ron Smith splitting the Harp vote so that Michael Smart loses is way off base. If Ron Smith is on the November ballot, I predict he’ll get less than 500 votes.