Campaign filings for mayoral candidates due on Wednesday night offered first indications of how much money contenders for the city’s top government post have been able to raise.
By state law, all candidates were mandated to submit campaign finance reports on Wednesday night detailing their fundraising and spending to date. According to these reports, Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 is far in the lead, with $55,950 in private contributions. This sum will grow to $94,000 when supplemented by funding from the Democracy Fund, New Haven’s public financing program for mayoral candidates.
“We hosted a bunch of fundraisers and lots and lots of phone calls, and I’m really happy about the number of smaller contributions that we received,” Elicker said. “People are paying what they can. … I know a lot of the folks who contributed aren’t rolling in money, and it means a lot to have these small contributions.”
Elicker said that these campaign filings do not provide enough information to make any conclusions about the race, and that it is important for his campaign to continue knocking on doors.
With state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield having raised $7,709 according to the public filings, this fall’s election has officially become a “contested” election, as the Democracy Fund stipulates that at least two candidates must raise more than $5,500 for the race to receive that designation. Because it is contested, Elicker is eligible for a $19,000 grant from the Democracy Fund. Elicker will also receive matching funds supplementing his private donations, as the Fund matches up to the first $25 twice of each eligible donation.
Chris Campbell, campaign manager for Holder-Winfield, said they are not surprised by the finance reports.
“We always knew we’d get a later start than other campaigns, just because of how busy the Legislature is this session, especially with a budget battle that’s as fierce as ever,” Campbell said.
Former city Economic Development Administrator Henry Fernandez LAW ’94 has raised $5 so far, but having declared at the end of March, he said that his focus was not on fundraising prior to the March 31 deadline for filing campaign reports.
“We had only about three days between the time when we filed and opened our bank account and at the end of the filing period, so we weren’t really raising money,” Fernandez said. “We just needed $5 to put into the bank account to open it really, so that’s what we did — I don’t think it’d be fair to say we raised $5.”
Plumber Sundiata Keitazulu, who has also declared that he is running for mayor, said he has raised $225 so far, according to the New Haven Independent. The Fund’s administrator, Ken Krayeske, said he was meeting again with Keitazulu on Friday afternoon to discuss the details of his participation in the Fund.
Elicker, Holder-Winfield and Keitazulu have all chosen to opt into the Democracy Fund. Fernandez has chosen to opt out, explaining that his late entry into the race has precluded his ability to use the Fund effectively. Because Holder-Winfield has not reached the minimum 200 contributions necessary to qualify for the Democracy Fund, he has not yet received any public financing support. Campbell said Holder-Winfield is approximately 75 percent of the way to the 200 contribution mark.
Krayeske said it is too soon to tell whether the public filings shed light on the Fund’s efficacy.
“I think in November we’ll have a pretty good idea of the effect and impact of the Democracy Fund,” Krayeske said. “Right now, it’s just too soon to tell. We’re in the very early stages, and we have candidates that haven’t even declared — at least, that’s my impression.”