Sept. 4, 2007
By Ken Krayeske • 11:05 PM EST
Eddie Perez has raised an eye-popping $400,000 for his re-election campaign.
Eddie Perez stands poised to break the $400,000 budgetary threshold for his re-election campaign.
The half-million dollar mark isn't far from that, and that boggles the mind. The obvious solution is publicly financed campaigns, but since that is four years away in Hartford at the very minimum, what exactly does that $400,000 mean to the city of Hartford?
First, between the primary and the general election, Perez won't likely garner more than 8,000 total votes, which means he is spending $50 per vote. That is about $20 more per vote than Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman spent in their 2006 battle royale.
According to the latest campaign finance reports, the money has been rolling into this campaign.
Between Art Feltman's $80,000, I. Charles Mathews' $40,000 or so, and Minnie Gonzalez's $9,000, we have $130,000 or so additional dollars. Add maybe $10,000 more for the rest of the mayoral crew, and we are at$540,000 total for maybe 15,000 votes between primary and general, or $36 per vote (still more than the Lamont-Lieberman fiasco).
For those who want a look at the finance reports, go down to Dan Carey’s office at City Hall. Mr. Carey hasn’t figured out how to put them online yet. And because of the bean counting at the Courant, I don’t expect them to come up with what the Dallas Morning News is doing.
The Dallas Morning News has a searchable database of campaign contributors for each of the nine mayoral candidates, some of whom have raised by the looks of things more than a million. But Dallas is a much bigger city.
Yet here in Hartford, we have few ways to track the massive infusion of cash into local politics.
The most trusted person in the field? My money's on Raul DeJesus, whose campaign finance filings show that he loaned his campaign more than $4,000 to get it off the ground. There is a dedicated person who wants his voice heard.
At 1 percent of what Eddie is spending, I think Raul deserves recognition for the quality of his message distribution. He recently landed on the cover of Echoes from the Streets, the teen newspaper (disclosure: I launched Echoes from the Streets in 2001, but no longer work for it).
For $400,000, Eddie could fund Echoes from the Streets for four years, thereby providing more than 300 Hartford teens with journalism experience.
The concept of using the campaign donations to fund public service endeavors. Considering the poverty here, it’s not a bad idea.
Spending all those out of state dollars locally, Perez could easily kick start some economic activity – maybe crib the Nobel Prize-winning concept of micro loans and apply it to Hartford, perhaps?
But not for ego-centric Eddie. For that $400,000, Eddie will buy television spots. Lots of them. He has a pretty serious image problem right now, and he will sping his narrative into the living rooms of the suburban voter, who can't even cast a ballot for him.
Perhaps he is trying to use this campaign as a catapult to state office. But whose seat would he run for? Governor? Too much for him. Treasurer? Not his cup of tea. State senator? A step down.
Federal office? John Larson, who holds a major leadership post, isn't close to done with his career, nor do I think Eddie has the interest in determining foreign policy or haggling over farming subsidies. The people of Connecticut don't have enough respect for the Mayor of Hartford to elect him to replace a Sen. Dodd, and Eddie would never offend his godfather Lieberman.
So why does he need $400,000? That's about $3.40 per city resident, yet since he is only going to focus on prime voters - those who have a history of voting.
Eddie could hold massive voter registration drives, outside of the high schools and Capital Community Technical College. But no, to maintain his tenuous hold on power, he will perpetuate the electoral system, rather than empower citizens.
In other terms, he is spending about one percent of the city's entire budget, which is a lot of overhead to determine leadership. We know the money isn't coming from average voters, either. It is coming from rich business people who deal with Eddie.
Before you go into the voting booth on Sept. 11, ask yourself if you want the quid pro quo to continue running local government. Because with Eddie Perez, that’s what we will get.