As the second quarter fundraising period rounds out in Hartford’s mayoral contest, one of the challengers is well in the lead.
Luke Bronin, former legal counsel to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Democratic challenger to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, has raised more than $610,000 from 1,872 donors, with more than $500,000 cash on hand. For the second quarter, which began April 1 and closed June 30, Bronin brought in $231,599 from 837 individuals.
These donations eclipse those of Segarra, who has raised $322,698 in individual donations since he began campaigning. Segarra has $110,813 in cash on hand and raised $112,257 from 472 of his supporters during the last fundraising period.
The current mayor would be higher up on the financial ladder, but he spent more than $200,000 on his re-election campaign, which is more than double what Bronin has spent since the first quarter began.
Segarra’s campaign struggled to get off it’s feet when two former campaign managers were hired and then fired in quick succession earlier this year.
Most of Segarra’s payouts were dolled out in the second quarter, when his campaign spent the majority of $168,485 on campaign management, consulting, and polling fees. Bronin’s spending was less focused, with $71,743 allocated in smaller amounts toward fundraising efforts, payroll taxes, and office supplies.
Bronin, who served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington before joining the Malloy administration, is running on a platform focused on education reform and business retention and attraction.
Some of his more specific goals include infrastructure improvements to Albany Avenue and North Main and expanding the city’s Parks and Recreation department.
“Hartford wants a Mayor who’s working every single day to make our neighborhoods stronger and safer, who’s fighting for jobs and for economic opportunity for Hartford residents, and who gets back to the basics of delivering city services on every street,” Bronin said in a statement. “We need a mayor who’s hands-on and who does the hard things, so that Hartford can become the great city we all know it can be.”
Segarra, who won the title after then-Mayor Eddie Perez resigned after being convicted of five felony corruption charges, touted initiatives to reduce crime. Violent and major crimes have decreased significantly under his term, and the 2014 homicide rate was down 30 percent from 2010, when Segarra took office, according to crime statistics from the Hartford Police Department.
“Five years ago, I came to the office of mayor, and there were very severe challenges,” Segarra said during last week’s debate between the city’s mayoral candidates. “The first was to restore trust and confidence in what was a very difficult time.”
During the debate, Segarra came under scrutiny regarding his commitment to the new baseball stadium. City Councilman Joel Cruz Jr., one of the challengers vying to unseat Segarra, said he found the prospect of development “exciting,” but retired probate Judge and mayoral hopeful Robert Killian called the stadium “a stupid move.”
“And let me say this, I hope the baseball team flourishes,” Killian said. “I hope whatever the hell they call it they have huge successes. But I’m going to tell you this, my friends. There will not be any other development there without massive infusion of public dollars and tax breaks and we can’t afford it.”
Killian, who joined the race just after it headed into the second quarter, reported $114,611 in cash, $94,780 of which was donated by 352 individuals, after spending a little over $10,000.
In a statement, the former judge expounded on his criticism of Segarra’s tenure.
“People want a city government that invests in its neighborhoods instead of baseball stadiums, a city government that gets serious about addressing its astronomical property taxes instead of foolishly claiming that taxes aren’t on the rise, and a city government with a plan for a fully staffed police department instead of a plan that will leave us with 100 officers too few,” he said.
John Gale, a lawyer from the West End who is also contending for the title, has a balance of $84,231, having spent $43,542 and having amassed a total of $103,386 in donations. Gale’s vision includes streamlining transparency and efficiency in city government and expanding community policing.
Cruz, a member of the Working Families Party who grew up in the North End, is running as an unaffiliated candidate and reported $4,297 in cash on hand.
Cruz said his experiences growing up in Hartford and watching it change from a place for basketball and double-dutch to one where friends were murdered across the street, were what inspired him to throw his hat in the ring.
“I know I’m young,” Cruz said. “I know I’m the underdog. I know I don’t come from money. But, my parents and grandmother raised me right. The Marine Corps taught me to never give up and to never leave my brothers or sisters behind. And my faith has taught me that nothing is impossible.”
Other candidates include unaffiliated city resident Giselle Jacobs and Republican Ted Cannon.
Bronin, Gale, Killian, and Segarra are vying for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee’s endorsement on July 27. If there is a primary it is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Key election deadlines and dates are available on the Secretary of the State’s website.