Blango’s Running; Rey Harp’s Considering

Melissa Bailey File PhotoAn election that may or may not take place for a seat that may or may not open up—and then afford the winner just three weeks or so of actual service—has already drawn one, and may possibly two, candidates.

That election would be a special election, for the 94th District seat in the state House of Representatives. The district is almost roughly split between southern Hamden and northern New Haven (including Newhallville and portions of East Rock).

Democrat Gary Holder-Winfield currently holds that seat. He’s now running for state senator, in a different special election on Feb. 25. (Read about that here.) He faces a Republican opponent, Stephen Mullins. Because Democrats so far outnumber Republicans in New Haven, Holder-Winfield is favored to win the seat.

If he does win that election, then his 94th District state House seat opens up for a special election. That special election would probably take place in mid-April. The winner would serve in the seat through the end of the legislative session—which this year falls on May 7. Then that winner, assuming he or she wants to stay in the seat, has to run all over again—beginning with a party nominating convention in May, then with a possible party primary in August.

Former Newhallville Alderman Charles Blango said Monday that he’s ready to run. He has begun trying to round up support. Blango, who is 49 and oversees the school system’s truancy/drop-out prevention effort, served as an alderman until Delphine Clyburn knocked him out of the seat in the 2011 elections. He also ran for the state representative seat in 2008 against Holder-Winfield.

In a conversation Monday, Blango, a Democrat, identified three top campaign issues.

One: Crime. If elected, he’d revive the effort to get a state law passed allowing New Haven to use “red-light cameras” to catch speeders and crooks. Civil-libertarians killed the effort in previous years. (Read about that here.) “I want to look at the cameras again,” Blango said. “It’s not going to cost us a whole lot of money. It’s not going to take away from the police department.” The police’s Shot Spotter system, which detects gun shots, would enable New Haven to identify the best places to put cameras, he said. Click here to read about Blango’s past advocacy for neighborhood anti-crime cameras.

Two: Education. Blango called for more vocational schools in New Haven. “We have one vocational school. That’s Eli Whitney [in Hamden]. For the whole district. We have about 19,620 students. I want to look at that. Every kid is not going to go to college. There are some good vocational jobs out there.”

Three: Jobs. “We build up downtown. I just think we need to build up some of the urban” neighborhoods like along Route 34, he said.

Meanwhile, a second potential candidate emerged: Rey Harp, director of external affairs for Renaissance Management, a real-estate company founded by his late brother Wendell (the husband of current Mayor Toni Harp).

Harp said he has been “talking to people” about a possible candidacy but has not decided yet.

“We feel it’s premature to make a decision now,” he said. “The seat’s not open.”

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posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 27, 2014  9:58pm

84th District Map Here: 094.pdf

Everyone take note that in the November 2012 Presidential election, 3,832 votes were recorded for Holder-Winfield in the Hamden portion of the 94th, and 4,469 from the New Haven side of the district. In a special election, without Obama at the top of the ticket, Hamden could very well turn out more voters than New Haven.

Does this suggest a Hamden Democrat will emerge to vie for this seat? If so, it would be sheer lunacy for New Haven to field both Blango and Harp!

Also the House Speaker, Brendan Sharkey, is from Hamden. Therefore it’s hard to imagine that Hamden won’t field a candidate, with a then exceedingly powerful Sharkey being dragged into the race in support of the Hamden Democrat.

Altogether the math is very much against the New Haven delegation retaining control of this seat.

posted by: FacChec on January 28, 2014  10:57am

@Anderson Scooper

Gary Winfield district is the 94th. not the 84th as you write. BTW your link did not open.

The acttual results from the 2012 election in which Obama was at the head of the ticket is as folows:

Election Results for State Representative
Assembly District 94                            
Gary Winfield Gary Winfield   Democratic.             

Hamden 3,658                

New Haven 4,277                

Total 7,935                      

New Haven: 192
Hamden:  174
Total:  366

posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 28, 2014  1:48pm

@ FacChec—

Thanks for your pain-staking thoroughness in discovering my typo. Yes, it is the 94th, and not the 84th.

Btw, the link works just fine if you copy and paste it.

The vote totals I cited are correct. They are the sum of the votes for Gary on the Democratic and Working Families ballot lines.

posted by: getyourfactstraight on January 28, 2014  7:42pm

Blango, listen up and just say no to a political career repeat!