Holder-Winfield Hires Clean-Elections Activist

They bumped into each other at “clean elections” events. Now Chris Campbell is running Gary Holder-Winfield’s mayoral campaign—a campaign fueling the tank with unleaded public financing.

Campbell, who is 31 (and pictured above at a clean-elections event outside City Hall Thursday afternoon), has signed on as manager of Holder-Winfield’s campaign for the Democratic mayoral nomination. Holder-Winfield, a Newhallville state representative, is set to square off against former city development chief Henry Fernandez and East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker in a Sept. 10 primary. At least one other prominent Democrat is expected to enter the race; a plumber named Sundiata Keitazulu has also filed papers to run. The candidates seek to replace incumbent Mayor John DeStefano, who plans to retire at the end of the year after two decades in office.

Campbell said he first discussed the manager’s job with Holder-Winfield at a campaign finance reform rally a month and a half ago. He said he knew of Holder-Winfield’s role at the state Capitol in promoting public financing of elections, a system touted as a way to counterbalance the influence of wealthy private interests on the democratic process.

“He’s a hero on campaign finance reform. He speaks around the country on this,” said Campbell, who would bump into Holder-Winfield at events.

Campbell grew up on the shoreline. He said he worked in Denver for the left-leaning cyber-roots group MoveOn.org in 2006 then for a Colorado-based political consulting firm. He said he moved back here a year and a half ago and lives in Wooster Square. His most recent gig was running a national campaign-reform group called Wolf-Pac. Click here for a story about a New Haven public hearing at which he testified that “corporations are not people, money is not speech, and our democracy should not be for sale”; click on the play arrow to watch an appearance he made on The Young Turks to discuss a “corporations are not people” resolution introduced in New Haven.

And click here and here for recent stories about the clean-elections issue in New Haven’s Democratic mayoral primary. Holder-Winfield and Elicker have signed up to participate in the Democracy Fund, the city’s public-financing system.

Participants in the fund agree to to limit individual contributions to $370 and swear off special-interest money in return for public campaign dollars. Candidates who collect at least 200 donations of at least $10 can quality for a $19,000 grant from the Fund plus matching dollars. The Fund matches the first $25 of donations at a rate of two to one.

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posted by: HewNaven on March 29, 2013  2:00pm

I think I just imagined machine politicians crapping their respective pantaloons.

posted by: streever on March 29, 2013  4:59pm

That is great news, Gary! Kudos.

posted by: HhE on March 29, 2013  6:27pm

I cannot wait for the cheep shot crowd to claim, “31 is too young, you are out Gary.”

posted by: Brutus2011 on March 29, 2013  9:58pm

I like this guy!

posted by: Webblog1 on March 30, 2013  12:12pm

Similar to Elicker’s hiring of a New Haven unknown 24 year old Kyle Buta of Stamford, Holder-Winfield follows suit by hiring a 31 yr. old unknown from the shore-line somewhere.
Neither of these gentlemen is connected to the local political players.

The key point intended here is not the age of the people, HhE, but the fact that New Haven politics has always been rooted in New Haven.

This year more than ever the word on the street is that New Haven needs to be about New Heaveners. Neither candidate seems to be initially able to grasp this simple concept.

Some of the more public clues lie in the 2011 election cycle where voters chose candidates who supported grass roots issues.

The out growth has been a developing jobs pipe line, which focus on New Heaveners, together with a current charter change drive to provide more point preference in hiring to New Haven residents.

The hiring of these two fine gentlemen does not appear to meet the trending demand of grass root voters in New Haven.

Perhaps Henry will see the light.

posted by: HhE on March 30, 2013  11:37pm

Webblong1, there is a word that sums up your argument, “provincial.”

posted by: Burbel on March 30, 2013  11:50pm

Is Elicker’s manager even from Connecticut? No matter. Looks like three candidates who are taking the race seriously and are being taken seriously. With the firm of Keyes and Looney about to enter the race, it will be four. Fernandez was the cleanest out of the gate with the clearest message. Holder-Winfield is suddenly much clearer than he was. Elicker it’s still difficult to say what the message is.

It is going to be very interesting when Keyes rolls out his campaign. Early advantage has to go to Henry, who’ll have DeStefano’s support, if the comments about him are any indication, plus some meaningful chunk of Latino support. He’ll be running against three not-DeStefanos who will split that vote.