Goldson Drops Out

Thomas MacMillan PhotoSaying that his “DNA” as an agitator isn’t suited for the job, Darnell Goldson bowed out of a race to become New Haven’s next state senator and endorsed Gary Holder-Winfield.

Goldson made that announcement at 3:30 p.m. Friday outside City Hall.

Goldson had been state Rep. Holder-Winfield’s only competition for the Senate seat vacated by Toni Harp, who recently became New Haven’s 50th mayor. Goldson and Holder-Winfield had been set to square off in a Feb. 25 special election. Holder-Winfield won the Democratic endorsement Thursday night.

After the vote Thursday night, Goldson vowed to continue the fight. By Friday afternoon, he had changed his mind.

“I’ve thought it over,” Goldson said. “I want to back the best candidate in the race.”

Goldson said Holder-Winfield has “a fine record up in Hartford.”

“I want to hear every voice,” said Holder-Winfield. He said he conveyed that message to Goldson and to state Rep. Juan Candelaria, who also recently abandoned his pursuit of the Senate seat. “I’d like to bring them with me,” Holder-Winfield said of Goldson and Candelaria. Holder-Winfield said he will invite the two men to participate in upcoming forums he’s planning to hold with his future constituents.

“I really think Gary’s DNA is better designed than mine” to be effective at the state Capitol,” Goldson said, calling himself an “agitator.”

Goldson said he had the necessary signatures to get on the ballot, and he wasn’t afraid of going against the party nominee, or running without any money. He was afraid his “message would get lost” if he didn’t drop out. By leaving the race and forming a connection with Holder-Winfield and having an “avenue” to his senator, Goldson said, he can be a more effective advocate for change.

Candidates sometimes make the argument that running a campaign, even a losing one, is a way to advocate for change. Goldson rejected this argument. “Memories are short,” he said. A month after the campaign is over the losing candidate’s “message disappears.”

Goldson was accompanied by his 11-year-old daughter Akilah, whom he introduced as “probably the only person who wanted me to stay in the race.”’

“I thought it’d be cool if he was a senator,” Akilah said.

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posted by: PH on January 17, 2014  5:22pm

Congratulations to Gary Holder-Winfield on running the most dominating political campaign in a generation!  In less than three weeks he vanquished three opponents and will cruise unopposed to the Senate seat that Mayor Harp vacated (for better or worse).  I hope he represents our larger city’s interests with the passion he has shown so far for the smaller group of constituents he has represented as a State Rep.

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on January 17, 2014  5:31pm

There are more twists and turns in New Haven politics than an episode of The Wire. Kudos to Gary. Now, who’s lining up to run for his seat??

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 17, 2014  5:37pm

People wake up.As Brother Malcolm X said.You’ve been HOODWINKED, BAMBOOZLED.You can see the deal that was cut!!! I will say it again.We need to get rid of the two party political system.With a two party system political system, politics has become a battle for power or to maintain that power, rather than its initial purpose which is to represent the people, act as a voice for the people and do what is best for the people. I get the fact that people have different ideology but in all honesty all ideas basically result in that group of people having maximum gain, minimum loss.In the end I just think we should stop focusing on the balance for power but rather focus on what is best for the people.

My Bad. I remember reading long ago that. Newly formed democracies normally opt for the parliamentary system over this foolishness we have.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 17, 2014  6:17pm

Not to be too conspiratorial, but this does make one question whether Goldson was recruited to the race specifically to splinter the black vote in favor of a Candelaria candidacy. (Candelaria doesn’t get the DTC endorsement, drops out, making Goldson’s candidacy superfluous.)

On a more constructive note, Gary is now the winner of the election, and will be leaving his State Rep seat soon. Is Hamden putting forth a candidate, and does New Haven have someone strong enough to win a challenge?

posted by: robn on January 17, 2014  6:21pm

A one person election is very, very uncool.

posted by: darnell on January 17, 2014  7:14pm

3/5ths - No deal done, I just didn’t have the chops to get it done. I’m not afraid to lose (just look at my BOA record) but I just didn’t see the sense of expending all of that energy and ending up at the same place I started. Gary convinced me that he will attempt to be an effective advocate for the issues I find important, and I’ll be watching.

@ElmCityProf - funny

@Scooper - you are being conspiratorial, no such scheme existed. I really don’t believe that I am built to do well in an environment like the state senate, at least not at this time. Perhaps one day the environment will be more conducive, perhaps not. I’m still searching for where I fit in. Maybe I’ll join the Republican Party and make it Lincoln’s party once again…lol

@Robn - agreed.

posted by: obi on January 18, 2014  6:50am

Will be interesting to see if Goldson runs for Winfield’s Rep. seat. Did he like the other candidate have a conversation with Toni and her chief of staff, OR J. James prior to his decision? I think he will go for the rep. seat. For that he most likely would get the endorsement of the Jackie James’ ‘hand picked’ group. Go on to win and do a good job in Hartford. Darnell being compliant is working for you.

posted by: MoNel on January 18, 2014  9:16am

Is it possible for Rep. Winfield to resign now, so that Gov. Malloy can simultaneously fill both seats on the same day, considering how expensive it is to hold an election?  Considering this is a cake walk for Rep. Winfield.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on January 18, 2014  9:34am

West Haven Republican to run against Gary Holder-Winfield:

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on January 18, 2014  10:52am

When are New Haveners finally going to be aroused from their catatonic state and realize that our elected officials are a bunch of self-serving, crony careerists? For 22 years we’ve have a Congressional Rep who has become one of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress—now worth $26 Million—solely by functioning as a symbolic mouthpiece for “progressive” causes. And now we have a Lord Mayor whose “pompa circensis” requires a triumphant, military-like autocade. I just hope tax dollars won’t be used to pay for her royal robes. I pessimistically expect nothing better of Holder-Winfield. Next time around I just hope New Haven voters will dump these careerists and restore a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”.

posted by: ElmCity Jim on January 18, 2014  10:55am

Thank goodness the Republican Party has nominated a very viable candidate for this position. The deals that must have been made for Rep. Candelaria and former Alderman Goldson to drop out to “clear the way” for Rep. Holder-Winfield must have been sufficiently rewarding for both.

I would urge that all residents of New Haven and West Haven consider donating some money to Steve Mullins. (Anyone living in those two cities, not only the 10th senatorial district, can donate and have it count towards the threshold required for public financing.)  Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a serious election for this seat and let those who cleared the way for Rep. Holder-Winfield eat some crow!

posted by: darnell on January 18, 2014  1:08pm


Promise I did not have any conversation whatsoever with the Harp administration or JJ about anything. In fact, JJ didn’t learn that I dropped out until after the press conference. Haven’t thought about Gary’s State Rep seat. I’m sure before the smoke clears their may be 6 or 7 folks in the mix.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 18, 2014  2:37pm

posted by: darnell on January 17, 2014 6:14pm

3/5ths - No deal done, I just didn’t have the chops to get it done. I’m not afraid to lose (just look at my BOA record) but I just didn’t see the sense of expending all of that energy and ending up at the same place I started. Gary convinced me that he will attempt to be an effective advocate for the issues I find important, and I’ll be watching.

Read this statement.Candelaria announced his decision to leave the race at a 5:30 p.m. press conference outside 200 Orange St. Candelaria’s candidacy had the support of some party leaders. But he entered the race later than the other two candidates. Candelaria said he met with Mayor Toni Harp and her chief of staff, Tomas Reyes, Thursday morning to discuss the race.What does harp and Reyes have to do with this race? Then he says I talk with the party bosses.Now Candelaria has eleven years and Gary Five.Who has been around longer?

My bad.Can not forget Jackie James.She drop out and now has a job. I smell Monte Hall all the way.Let’s Make A Deal.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 18, 2014  3:33pm

A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker. - H.L. Mencken

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 18, 2014  9:14pm

posted by: robn on January 17, 2014 5:21pm

A one person election is very, very uncool.

So is one party in control.

posted by: darnell on January 19, 2014  1:27am

@3/5ths - I don’t know about anyone else, but I didn’t make any sort of deal with anyone, nor did I meet with anyone.

I gave Gary a call in the morning and informed him that I was dropping out after submitting my petitions. He suggested, and rightly so, that if I were going to drop out, I should not submit my petitions, since it would trigger an election and cost the city and state money.

I doubt very much that the Harp administration will be offering me a job, since 1) I haven’t asked, and 2)they haven’t offered.

I hope that covers it all for everyone. Maybe someone else can offer to be the sacrificial lamb for a change…lol

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on January 19, 2014  11:00pm


We’ve been friends for over 30 years and I’ve never seen you punk out of anything. 

The idea that you decided to drop out because “I just didn’t see the sense of expending all of that energy and ending up at the same place I started.”  C’mon Darnell, who do you think your kidding? Your excuse is utterly ridiculous.  You’ve been in politics long enough to know exactly what the quest entailed.

You saw an opportunity to be relevant again and you took advantage of it.  I’m not mad at you bro, but you had better gotten something out of the deal.  If not, I’m a little surprised that you would do it in this fashion. 

I’m always against the idea of elected officials (or anyone for that matter) running unopposed. Opposition insures accountability.

I guess I’m going to have to come out of retirement and show Darnell how it’s done. (smile)

posted by: darnell on January 20, 2014  11:04am

Brian, Brian, Brian;

Look, I respect everyone’s position up here, even though I may not agree with them or they may be TOTALLY off. First, I don’t cut deals, unless the deal is for the taxpayers, youth, and elderly I want to give voice to. If anyone knows me, they would know that I really wanted to continue on, but I am getting older and less inclined to fight alone.

Which gets to my second point, where were you and all of these commentators when I was out collecting signatures? Nowhere to be found! And where were you all going to be when I was out knocking on 60,000 doors and trying to pull voters on election day? The same place, here on this site posting about how bad a job I did or how lucky I was.

Now, some of you claim that I wanted press, well if that was the case, I’ll still be in it. Others claim that I was angleling for something else like a job or some other mysterious deal. Again, wrong! The Harp administration folks do not talk with me beyond a simple hello in public.

In the last election in this district, 27,000 people voted. There are nearly 40,000 registered voters just in New Haven, maybe another 10,000 in West Haven. Trying to fight a machine with PLENTY of money and manpower in a 4 week election and to reach out to those voters was an impossible task.

Now Brian, perhaps you may call it a punk out, but until you either are on the ground assisting (for free), or getting n the ring yourself, perhaps you should keep that opinion to yourself.

posted by: darnell on January 20, 2014  11:05am

And Brian, BTW, perhaps you haven’t kept up but Gary does have competition.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on January 20, 2014  12:34pm

Presenting the “other candidate”,  Steve Mullins: And here’s the fiscal disaster which the winner will need to help fix: According to this study, Connecticut is among the states in absolute WORST financial condition: number 48 in cash solvency & long-run solvency [page 34, 36], No. 41 in budget solvency [page 35], No. 45 in service-level solvency [page 37], putting CT’s overall Fiscal Condition at NEXT-TO-LAST! [page 38] But who cares? We’re a “blue state” and “progressive”. Furthermore, Democratic Party loyalists, with massive influx of out-of-state donations, have squelched any effective, organized “other political party” opposition to their reckless fiscal policies. And New Haveners? We proudly can point to the fact that our new Mayor for years headed the state’s appropriations committee, essentially controlling state spending and largely contributing to the state’s fiscal mess. Her fiscal plan for New Haven? Get more money from our soon-to-be-bankrupt state…