Money matters in Ward 1 race



While neither Ben Healey ’04 nor Daniel Kruger ’04 is going to be confused with a big-time political fundraiser, their race for Ward 1 Alderman is attracting more money than usual.

According to financial statements filed last week, both candidates have received over $1,500 in campaign contributions. Healey, the Democratic incumbent, has raised $2,465, while Kruger, an independent, has raised $1,550.

Healey and Kruger — who both said they were not focusing their efforts on soliciting donations — said they each received many of their donations from family members. But both candidates also accepted contributions from individuals associated with some of the causes they support.

Healey, who has been closely allied with Yale’s unions, received donations from several labor organizers. Kruger, an advocate of greater cooperation between the Ward 1 Alderman and the Yale administration, accepted contributions from two employees of the University’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs and one residential college master.

But both candidates said the financial support they have received is a result of, rather than an influence on, their long-standing political views.

“It goes without saying that people who donate to my campaign don’t form my agenda,” Kruger said. “I think they are donating to my campaign because they are excited about what my agenda is.”

Kruger, a former employee of the Office of New Haven and State Affairs, said the three Yale employees contributed to his campaign because of personal relationships they had cultivated with him, not because of their positions with the University.

Healey, who said that campaign contributions were a “non-issue,” said the donations were only a way for individuals to show support for his campaign. Healey received contributions ranging from $50 to $65 from two organizers of a union for dietary workers at Yale-New Haven Hospital and three employees of the Connecticut Center for a New Economy, an organization associated with Yale’s unions.

“I think they chose to give to me because they feel strongly that I’ve stood with them on issues that are important to their members,” Healey said.

Healey raised less than $500 during his campaign in 2001, and he said he did not intend to engage in any fundraising this year until Kruger decided to enter the race in July. While the fundraising tallies for Kruger and Healey are by no means exceptional for an aldermanic election, Ward 1 — which is composed primarily of Yale students– has attracted more money than many other competitive wards around the city.

Calhoun College Master William Sledge, who donated the legal maximum of $250 to Kruger’s campaign, said he made a contribution simply because he felt strongly about the race.

“The bottom line is that I think [Kruger] is a better-qualified candidate,” Sledge said.

But while Healey and Kruger are using the funds they raise to buy t-shirts, buttons and campaign literature, they are relying far more heavily on student volunteers to spread their names throughout campus. Both have engaged in extensive voter registration drives and door-knocking campaigns over recent weeks — efforts that will intensify as the Nov. 4 election approaches.

With the help of volunteers, Healey and Kruger have also created extensive Web sites featuring campaign positions, press clippings and candidate biographies. Kruger’s site describes him as an “independent voice,” while Healey uses the slogan “Students First” on his campaign’s site.

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