Garcia: Small Fundraisers to Qualify For The Citizens Election Program

New Haven Independent: Clean Money Quest Begins At The Bar <read>

To make it to the state Capitol without special interest money, Gerry Garcia had to get to Christopher Martin’s early, to woo New Haveners with bottles of Heineken and slices of filet mignon on toast.

The event Wednesday night was one of many small fundraisers Garcia is hosting as he seeks the Democratic nomination for secretary of state.

Garcia (at right in photo), who lives in East Rock, is the only Democratic candidate for statewide office who has signed up to participate in the state’s clean elections program. The program offers public matching money to office-seekers willing to run “clean”—to limit the size and types of contributions they’ll accept.

To qualify for a public grant, Garcia has to raise $75,000 in small donations of between $5 and $100. That’s what brought him to Christopher Martin’s Restaurant & Pub on State Street, a few blocks from his Bradley Street home.

About 25 people, mostly political insiders, showed up to mingle on an elevated platform toward the back of the bar. They schmoozed over pesto tortellini, wild-caught shrimp cocktail, southern-fried chicken wings and bottles Heineken and Beck’s…

“Your investment in me today is an investment in a healthy democracy,” Garcia said.

He vowed give voice to the voiceless by getting more people to the polls. He stressed his ability to reach out to Latino citizens. Garcia, a Puerto Rican Jew, is one of only two Latinos seeking statewide office this year.


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