The three candidates seeking to fill Toni Harp’s State Senate seat have promised to fuel their campaign engines with “clean” fuel.
Three three candidates—state Reps. Juan Candelaria and Gary Holder-Winfield and former West Rock Alderman Darnell Goldson—are competing in a Feb. 25 election for the 10th State Senate District from which Harp resigned this month to begin work as New Haven’s new mayor.
All three said this week that they will participate in the state’s public-financing Citizens’ Election Program, assuming they raise enough money to qualify.
The program is aimed at limited the political influence of big money and enabling more candidates to seek office.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Candelaria said. “We have to give the power to the people.” Holder-Winfield, a longtime supporter of public financing of campaigns, agreed.
“If I can qualify, I will” participate, Goldson said. “With such a small campaign window, and without 11 years of infrastructure in place like other candidates, I’m not sure if I can can. This week I’m focusing on collecting my signatures and putting a campaign structure of volunteers in place. I will start thinking about money after that.” Candelaria has serve in the state House of Representatives for 11 years, Holder-Winfield for five.
Under the Citizens’ Election Program, which is voluntary, a candidate in the special election can theoretically obtain up to $63,750 in a public grant, as long as he raises at least $11,250 in individual contributions of up to $100, from at least 225 people who live in the district. That’s according to a fact sheet the state has issued for the special election. (Read it here.) The $63,750 number might be adjusted slightly upward in the event the Consumer Price Index rises before the election. Participating candidates may not accept any individual donations above $100 or any contributions from political action committees.
Who Gets To Decide
Meanwhile, the candidates prepared to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party at a convention at 200 Orange St. Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. Goldson and Holder-Winfield are gathering signatures on petitions to put their names on the ballot as unaffiliated candidates in case they don’t get the party nod.
A party convention for a special state legislative election draws on the same list of delegates appointed for the original convention for the seat—in this case, the 46 people who served as delegates to nominate Harp for the seat in 2012. The party’s town chair, Jackie James, selected them. Following are the names of the 46 delegates, according to a form on file in the city/town clerk’s office. (To reach the delegates, click here to find their contact information.)
Arlene Davis Rudd
Randy Rubin Rodriguez