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Rodriguez Makes The Ballot
by Melissa Bailey | Aug 16, 2013 1:59 pm
Posted to: Campaign 2013
With a small campaign team and no well-funded running mate providing the troops, underdog city clerk candidate Sergio Rodriguez rounded up enough signatures to officially land a spot on the Democratic primary ballot.
The Democratic registrar of voters Friday morning officially certified Rodriguez’s (pictured) spot on the Sept. 10 primary ballot.
Three mayoral candidates—Henry Fernandez, Justin Elicker and Kermit Carolina—also had the signatures certified for the ballot for the primary. They joined mayoral candidate Toni Harp and city/town clerk candidate Mike Smart, who already secured the top spot on the ballot by running as a slate.
There’s no word yet on whether incumbent City/Town Clerk Ron Smith made the ballot. Democratic Registrar of Voters Sharon Ferrucci said Friday her office is still verifying signatures.
All the candidates raced to collect 2,406 signatures from registered Democrats in New Haven over a two-week period in order to secure a spot on the ballot. The effort turned into an unofficial contest of who could show their strength by collecting the most.
In the end, that didn’t matter: Ferrucci said her office stopped counting once each candidate cleared the hurdle of 2,406 signatures.
Rodriguez said he faced a daunting task heading into the two-week sprint. He was up against one candidate who has support of the Democratic party and the Yale unions (Smart), and another who has the advantage of incumbency. Smart’s name appeared on ballot petitions along with that of mayoral candidate Toni Harp, which meant that the hundreds of volunteers collecting signatures for Harp in the process collected them for Smart, too.
“I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to do this,” Rodriguez said. “It was an awful lot of signatures to get.”
Rodriguez relied on “a small, committed group” of about 10 to 15 core supporters to collect signatures. “We had a very small operation,” he said.
He said he paid some people to collect names, but most work was done voluntarily.
Those who helped with the effort included Latino political leaders such as state Rep. Juan Candelaria, Fair Haven Alderwoman Migdalia Castro, Fair Haven ward co-chair Celestino Cordova, and former Fair Haven Alderman Joey Rodriguez. Alderman Doug Hausladen also helped. Sergio Rodriguez said he knocked on a lot of doors personally to get the job done.
The registrar rejected one page of Rodriguez’s petition because the person collecting the signatures was not a Democrat. Rodriguez submitted 3,500 signatures in all, so he had a safe cushion.
“I’m extremely excited” that the effort paid off, Rodriguez said. It took “a lot of persistence, a lot of dedication.”
All of the mayoral and city/town clerk candidates except Harp and Smart have also made a backup plan: If they lose the primary, they have also signed up to run in the Nov. 5 general election as independents.
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Good to see he made the ballot I will be voting for him.
I do how ever find it interesting that the Latin politicians that are supporters of the Harp slate helped an underdog like Sergio. At the least that is interesting.
I respect Alderman Rodriguez’s grassroots organizing and persistence to get his name on the ballot. It was a lot of hard work on the part of Sergio and his supporters to allow us to have a choice on the ballot. Thank you. Very good for democracy. It’s also nice to have an alternative to the Harp-Smart machine in the city clerk contest.
That being said, I still think the position is a drain on our resources, especially at its current annual salary level for a part-time gig.
I’m a little bummed they stopped counting at 2406, because I would have like to know how many of the mayoral candidates signatures were rejected, given the rumors that some candidates were not limiting signatures to registered New Haven Democrats.
GO SERGIO!! Sending in a contribution now!! GO SERGIO!! You always had my support from day one!!
Give me a break.Sergio Rodriguez is part of the machine also.