Republican Ward 1 Candidate Paul Chandler ’14 raised $1,000 more than Democratic Incumbent Sarah Eidelson ’12 in the last filing period of the campaign, reversing his opponent’s initial fundraising lead and drawing in donations that he said prove his campaign can transcend party ideology.
In campaign finance documents filed on Tuesday, Eidelson reported raising $732, the sum of five small student contributions and three from family members. Chandler reported raising a total of $1,717, in addition to a $200 contribution received just after the filing deadline from Ward 19 Alderman-elect Mike Stratton, a registered Democrat and trial lawyer in New Haven. Chandler’s total consists of a $250 contribution from the Republican Town Committee and 16 other donations, eight of them from Yale students.
Chandler Campaign Manager Ben Mallet ’16 said news that the campaign trailed Eidelson in funds at the beginning of the month mobilized a significant number of donations in the past three weeks. Sterling Johnson ’15, treasurer for Eidelson’s campaign, said the campaign had already successfully motivated most students to donate during the first filing period but added that he was still satisfied with the fundraising total of $2,817.
More important than the amount of money, Chandler said, is the source of his donations. In addition to the $200 raised from Stratton, the campaign took in a $100 contribution from U.S. Senator Rob Portman, whose son is a Yale senior.
“Senator Portman met Paul at Yale when he was giving a speech and was impressed with him and his ideas,” Caitlin Dunn, Portman’s press secretary, told the News in a Wednesday email, referring to an informal conversation with Trumbull College students Portman held in early October. “The Senator gave him a small personal contribution to help him with his grassroots campaign.”
Chandler cited the contribution from Stratton to emphasize that his candidacy crosses party lines. He said the fact that Stratton endorsed him rather than his Democratic opponent proves that the political divide on the Board of Aldermen is not attached to party affiliation, but is instead caused by the Yale unions.
Stratton agreed, condemning Eidelson for running while no longer a current student and accusing her of voting in lockstep with Yale’s Unite Here Local 34, a union local representing clerical and technical workers at the University.
“I think the only reason Sarah is still hanging on is because the union can’t find another student they can control as much as they’ve controlled her,” said Stratton, who added that his donation to Chandler’s campaign marked his first ever to a Republican politician.
Eidelson has forcefully denied that allegation. During Monday’s debate, she said her employment with Local 34 as a graphic designer does not dictate how she votes on the Board.
“I represent Yale students,” Eidelson said. “I don’t represent Yale as an institution and I don’t represent Local 34 as an institution when I’m voting on the Board.”
Eidelson has drawn support from a considerably different slate of political leaders than the ones who have flocked to Chandler, principally ones with whom she has worked over the past two years on the Board of Aldermen. The incumbent also won the endorsement of mayoral candidate and 11-term Connecticut State Sen. Toni Harp ARC ’78 in September.
Eidelson said her support from a collection of sitting aldermen stems from her community activism work in New Haven even before she ran for alderman.
Ward 29 Alderman Brian Wingate, Ward 22 Alderman Jeanette Morrison and Ward 28 Alderman Claudette Robinson-Thorpe also said they confidently endorsed Eidelson’s re-election campaign.
Stratton said he supports Chandler because he sees him as an “independent-thinker willing to challenge the status quo,” likening the Ward 1 hopeful to a series of other candidates including himself, Democratic Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen ’04, Independent Ward 8 candidate Andy Ross and Democratic Ward 25 write-in candidate Michael Pinto.
None of these three candidates have officially backed Chandler. But the Ward 1 hopeful did win the support of two Connecticut state legislators on Wednesday evening, who stopped by campus to join the candidate for a discussion of education reform. Connecticut State Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut House Rep. Gail Lavielle GRD ‘81, both Republicans, backed Chandler, praising his knowledge of the city’s schools and his campus outreach efforts over the past two months.
Robinson-Thorpe, who chairs the Board’s planning committee on the shuttered Goffe Street Armory alongside Eidelson, said it is due to Eidelson’s leadership that the Board was able to conduct a feasibility study and open the space for the City-Wide Open Studios arts event last week.
While Chandler talked education reform with state leaders on Wednesday evening, Eidelson stopped in on a meeting of the Yale Student Environmental Coalition, speaking to the group about how sustainability efforts on campus can intersect with city initiatives.