When two-time mayoral contender Chris Caruso and former Town Clerk Alma Maya signed on to the mayoral ticket of State Senator Marilyn Moore in 2019 it was the highlight of her campaign.
It wasn’t just any support. Caruso and Maya ran for town clerk and city clerk respectively on her line, bringing a wealth of both public and political service to the table.
The support, however, was unrecognized by Moore and her inexperienced campaign team, especially after Kennard Ray left as campaign manager. The race was Moore’s to lose against incumbent Joe Ganim who had come off a peculiar run for governor after voters returned him to office in 2015.
In time the organizational cracks cratered Moore’s race. Caruso and Maya were shut out of meaningful suggestions to buoy the campaign. Ganim did just enough to survive the Democratic primary.
Though he’s no lock for another four-year term, this is a different Ganim from four years ago. He’s much more engaged. This is also a different Marilyn Moore who was seen as a viable alternative. Many who had supported her in 2019 have defected based on her dysfunctional run and a tin ear to the necessities of maintaining relationships. Some have joined John Gomes for mayor.
This time Maya is supporting Lamond Daniels, a Finch mayoral administration official, who enjoys the liberal stripes to win over progressives such as Maya. Support from Maya brings Daniels credibility. She’s been in the trenches. She may not have the votes other pols bring to the table but Maya brings meaningful stature. It provides him a recruitment platform to woo backers.
The next few weeks are particularly key for Daniels and Moore. Gomes has already proven his fundraising prowess to compete against a well-financed incumbent. If Daniels fund raises equally or better than Moore it elevates his prestige for anti-incumbent and anti-establishment interests looking for a place to land.
During an exploratory stage for mayor, Daniels raised $26,000, a credible amount given the $375 maximum personal contribution allowed by state law. For a candidate committee it’s $1,000.
Daniels has rolled the balance of his exploratory dough into the candidate committee to flex additional fundraising strength for a critical first quarter fundraising report due in April. Four years ago, Moore raised roughly $68,000 in the first quarter.
If he raises another $40K or so it places him where she was four years ago. If her amount is about the same of less it lifts Daniels and further erodes Moore’s status.
Moore’s state senate base of support brings numerous advantages, but schlepping to Hartford on a regular basis for a legislative session that ends early June also disadvantages fundraising mechanics.
In about four weeks we’ll learn more about the mayoral field momentum.