Jessie Cheung, Staff Photographer

The Karen DuBois-Walton ’89 mayoral exploratory committee announced Tuesday morning that it has raised $69,652 in 23 days. Shortly after, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker’s campaign announced its own haul: $120,000 over the first fiscal quarter of 2021.

The figures represent donations received between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2021. Elicker is also projected to receive another $40,000 from the New Haven Democracy Fund for the quarter through its donation matching program. The Democracy Fund, New Haven’s publicly funded election financing program, matches up to $125,000 in donations to campaigns that comply with certain rules, including maximum donations of $390. It is meant to offer funding for mayoral candidates that is free from special interests. 

DuBois-Walton, who has not yet launched a campaign, does not qualify for these additional funds, although she intends to participate in the Democracy Fund should she officially launch a mayoral bid. Her committee set a $375 donation limit in order to stay within the Fund’s $390 limit.

Throughout the rest of the election cycle, candidates or potential candidates will be required by state law to file financial disclosure statements on July 10 and Oct. 10 for the second and third quarters. Candidates who reach the primary must also file by Sept. 7 and those who reach the general election by Oct 26.

DuBois-Walton Exploratory Committee

DuBois-Walton’s committee noted in a Tuesday press release that its $69,652 figure is more than either Elicker or former New Haven Mayor Toni Harp raised over the first month of their respective 2019 campaigns.

“We’re so honored and proud to receive this kind of widespread support while still exploring a run,” DuBois-Walton wrote in a press release. “This level of excitement and engagement shows just how ready New Haven is for new leadership. As I continue to explore a run for Mayor, we’ll continue to work to ensure that folks all across this city get a chance to express what they’re looking for from their city’s government and commit to identify new ways to ensure our city’s leadership works for and with the community it serves.”

DuBois-Walton — president of Elm City Communities, the city’s public housing authority — publicly launched her exploratory committee on March 8, noting that she “seeks to bring her leadership to create a New Haven that offers equitable opportunity for all.” Since then, she’s been “strategically working behind the scenes meeting with small groups of constituents” to achieve the community engagement she hoped to get through her committee, according to the press release.

DuBois-Walton’s exploratory committee cannot receive donations above $375. Over the first quarter, it has recorded an average donation of $171.98.

“These numbers ratify the desire for the conversation about new leadership, and our committee has been invested in the hard conversations with the community about what that leadership requires,” Committee Treasurer Donald McAulay Sr. wrote in a statement to the press. “We’re eager to serve New Haven with the bold vision and action that Karen has brought to everything she does.” 

While McAulay noted that “we’ve got the necessary momentum to see this through,” the committee has not yet announced plans for the formation of a campaign. If she chooses to take on a campaign, DuBois-Walton has told the News she will do so no later than July, when the local Democratic Party is expected to make its official endorsement.

Elicker Campaign

Elicker, on the other hand, publicly launched his reelection campaign on Jan. 21. The first-term mayor told the News last month that his campaign was “working very hard to raise donations and will do so throughout the campaign.” He told the News he could not answer further questions on fundraising until the first quarter filing deadline for financial disclosure statements on April 10. 

In his message to supporters, Elicker did not specify average donations, but he did note that 600 donors contributed during the quarter. In comparison, 400 people have donated to DuBois-Walton’s campaign. 

Additionally, a strong majority — 70 percent — of Elicker’s donations come from New Haveners. In contrast, DuBois-Walton’s announced that 36 percent of her donations came from local residents, while 17 percent came from out of the state. Elicker did not specify an equivalent figure for his campaign.

“I want to say thank you,” Elicker wrote in his message to supporters. “You stepped up when we needed you most and helped put this campaign in a very strong position out of the gate. … This is going to be a long campaign and we’ve got a lot of work to do in the coming weeks and months, but you stepped up and built a strong foundation.”

Elicker first ran for mayor in 2013, when he lost to Harp.

Owen Tucker-Smith |

Owen Tucker-Smith was managing editor of the Board of 2023. Before that, he covered the mayor as a City Hall reporter.