Dodd, Obama score most West Hartford donations

The Washington Post helpfully breaks down presidential fundraising by town, so we can see who’s getting what from West Hartford donors.  

Third Quarter 2007 & 2007 Fundraising by Candidate

Candidate Q3 2007 Overall
Chris Dodd $5,752 $104,352
Barack Obama $5,039 $36,032
Hillary Rodham Clinton $2,360 $6,760
John Edwards $1,250 $7,450
Bill Richardson $1,000 $1,500
Joe Biden $0 $500
Fred Thompson $1,250 $1,250
John McCain $1,030 $1,830
Rudy Giuliani $900 $1,150
Mitt Romney $80 $1,056
Jim Gilmore $0 $500
Duncan Hunter $0 $250


Filed under Clinton, Dodd, fundraising, News, Obama, West Hartford

17 responses to “Dodd, Obama score most West Hartford donations

  1. TWC

    Q: What should West Hartford be doing to deal with racism in Town in the face of growing population of people of color?

    This was a question Gary Reger reported on a prior thread that got asked at one of the recent candidate forums.

    Personally, I find this question an insult to the residents of this Town. As the 6 to 1 fundraising advantage Obama has over Hillary in West Hartford clearly demonstrates, it is absurd to suggest that West Hartford is an emerging hot bed of racism. This question could only have been asked by some Al Sharpton wannabe who should consider spending more time helping this Town address the achievement gap then looking for a racist behind every bush.

    If a credible candidate of color emerged in this Town, and was willing to take on the unpaid and often thankless job of helping run it, I am very confident this Town would flock to support such a candidate, just as they are doing with Obama.

  2. Gary Reger

    The Washington Post report states that in the third quarter a total of 71 contributions were made to all presidential candidates by residents of West Hartford; the total for the year was (if memory serves) 269. These counts could include multiple contributions by the same person. So only a tiny minority of residents have contributed to any candidate at all, and there is no “flocking” to Obama.

    As for the question of racism, alas I’m not so sanguine as TWC. It’s true that WH is a tolerant town. But we have had our incidents — remember that cartoon sent over the summer to people who’d spoken out against the tax referendum? — and it would be prudent to plan to make sure WH stays, and becomes more, tolerant. Sherry Cantor talked with refreshing directness about these issues in her comments at the Bristow forum the week before last.

    Harvard researchers have created a test of implicit racial preferences that surprises many who take it: (you’ll have to look around a bit to find the one on race).

  3. Joe Visconti

    And what did Sheri Say?

  4. Gary Reger

    Sorry, it was both Sherry and Scott Slifka (just looked back at my notes).

    Sherry said she and others have been trying to get more minority persons on Town boards and commissions, but it is often hard for people to serve because the jobs are volunteer and many people are struggling to balance work and raising children. She said she has worked with Democracy Works, WHIRED, and the new human rights student group at Hall High to find ways to make it easier to encourage minorities to get involved.

    Scott Slifka also praised the efforts of Democracy Works to develop a pool of minority talent, and said that involvement in the PTOs is the most important entry point. But he also said (and this seemed to me very perceptive) that while we (he meant whites) may think all the entry points are “wide open,” in fact many people of color don’t feel comfortable in those settings, dominated as they are by white folks.

    Has there ever been a person of color on the WH Town Council or BoE?

  5. TWC

    “…So only a tiny minority of residents have contributed to any candidate at all, and there is no “flocking” to Obama.

    Really. You don’t consider this “tiny minority” a representative sampling of the population at large in this Town? I do.

    And one bone-head cartoon sent by a dinosaur from a prior era–even if that’s what happened (since we’ll never know for sure)–hardly qualifies as an emerging ground-swell of racism.

    But I know what’s going on here. BOE Chairman Darcey showed his cards after the cartoon incident.

    Those who are actively promoting a two-tiered public elementary school system are getting geared up to dump millions into Charter Oak and Smith, and they’re hoping to preemptively silence any critics who voice their concerns that the best way to address racial discrimination is not to discriminate (as was so eloquently stated in a recent U.S. Supreme Court case that this Town continues to ignore).

  6. Gary Reger

    Fewer than 300 people out of 60,000 is no representative sample of the Town. These are people who have chosen at a very early stage to contribute to a political campaign. The fact that some of them — and remember, we don’t know how many — picked Obama, says absolutely nothing about WH racial attitudes. Indeed, if you are to judge racial attitudes on the basis of these data, then WH is an overwhelming pro-white town, since the lion’s share of the money went to the white guy Dodd.

    The inference in the last paragraph seems to me to go way beyond the evidence. At least, I don’t think an honest discussion about racial issues is aimed at preemptively silencing critics. Whether the best way to end discrimination is not to discriminate calls for long discussion.

  7. turtle

    the best way to address racial discrimination is not to discriminate (as was so eloquently stated in a recent U.S. Supreme Court case…)

    You know, why didn’t anyone think of this before? We could have saved ourselves so much trouble, and racism would have “naturally” resolved itself! Elementary, my dear Watson.

  8. TWC

    Alright, Gary, it’s been awhile since my college statistics class, but I’ll concede that the donations by 300 in this Town might not represent a mathematically conclusive sampling of the residents of this Town.

    But will you concede the broader point I was trying to make that if a reasonably competent candidate of color threw his hat in the ring in this Town, we would all work overtime to try to avoid not voting for him or her?

    It’s my view that such a candidate would get the same sort of overwhelmingly warm reception that Duval Patrick enjoyed in Massachusetts. All of which hardly paints the picture of abundant bigotry that some of the candidates are trying to tag West Harford with in what I think could simply be irresponsible pandering for minority votes.

  9. turtle

    All of which hardly paints the picture of abundant bigotry that some of the candidates are trying to tag West Harford with in what I think could simply be irresponsible pandering for minority votes.

    Wow, I haven’t heard anything like that! What did some of the candidates say to that effect?

  10. turtle

    Spamcatcher didn’t like my tags, so in short:

    I haven’t heard any of this abundant bigotry stuff. What did some candidates say?

  11. TWC

    Turtle, the some are those that Gary reported subscribed to this view of West Hartford at the public forum where they planted (er, were asked) this question and then proceeded with their public pandering (i.e., Slifka and Cantor, per Gary’s notes).

    However, I will admit that I wasn’t there to hear their responses to this question, so if I am putting words in their mouth undeservedly, I’m prepared to stand corrected.

    But this isn’t a new political tune in this Town. Before this public forum we had Chairman Dorsey’s comment about the cartoon incident (“…oh, it must be people unhappy with Charter Oak and Smith…”) and the ridiculous (and publicly funded) quest for “institutional racism” by WHIRED (which is all they were left with when they couldn’t find any form of “real” racism in this Town—other than the nut-case swastikas and bigoted cartoon).

    And as you (of all people) know, this mindset provides one of the key pillars for justifying the potentially unconstitutional two-tiered elementary school system that the current BOE members seem hell-bent on creating in this Town.

  12. turtle

    TWC, I think maybe you’ve overdetermined what Cantor and Slifka said. From what Gary reports, they were explaining some of the difficulties in attracting minority candidates to town government, but nowhere do they accuse West Hartford residents of “abundant” or even garden-variety racism. On the other hand, Darcey’s remark was quite reasonable considering that hate mail was sent to non-whites who spoke up at a town meeting, possibly about Smith and Charter Oak (I can’t remember exactly).

    I also think that you’re so opposed to the magnet schools that you’re prepared to gloss over the fact that racism exists no less in West Hartford than anywhere else.

    I haven’t been able to find out much information about how the Supreme Court’s ruling will affect the magnets; have you?

  13. TWC

    You’re right, turtle (usually the case more often than not), there’s barely been a peep anywhere in CT regarding the impact of last term’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that shot down two school districts’ schemes to address de facto segregation in their public schools.

    Probably because the policy-makers in CT are hoping parents like me who are fed up with race-based policies that divert resources which could be deployed in fairer and more effective ways to address the achievement gap won’t take notice.

    But you can always count on me, turtle, to provide more information about this case, and offer my views on the legal and moral lessons that WH should be taking away from this case.

    By the way, the only BOE candidate I have heard say anything about this case–expressing his view that it needed to be analyzed and addressed–was Dr. Check, who has my vote solely on that basis.

  14. Gary Reger

    Turtle has the tone and thrust of Shari Cantor and Scott Slifka’s remarks at the Bristow forum correct: they were addressing the challenges to getting minority persons involved in Town government, and attributed those difficulties to busy-ness and the sense of not feeling wholly comfortable.

    This discussion is very interesting to me in part because I think the issues are not just race but also class. I have no doubt that WH would happily elect Barack Obama to public office — he’s an upper middle-class guy, like so many of us here in WH. But my impression is — and please correct me if I am wrong — that WH’s changing demographics are bringing in more folks on the poorer side. The attractions are, I imagine, safety and schools (which means there’s a real irony in the position of those who claim they are trying to help these residents by cutting taxes, since that threatens both elements that attracted them in the first place). The public challenges for the Town are, I think, first, that affordibility question — which has a lot more to do with expense of housing, transportation, and so on, than taxes alone — and, second, finding ways to make the culture of the Town warm and welcoming for the people we need to be participating in our shared public life. (As someone not born and raised in WH I will confess that I have often had the feeling of being something of a second-class citizen, a “transient” whose views matter less than the “real” residents. I can only try to imagine what it might feel like to be a Latino moving from Hartford to Elmwood!) So I think the issues here, although they include questions of race and racisim, are more complicated, more subtle, and more difficult.

  15. turtle

    As usual Gary is right on the money. The unruffled response in both Hartford and West Hartford to the Supreme Court’s decision may reflect that integrationists nowadays consider a variety of factors in addition to race, such as class and culture.

    If you consider the future of a town whose dominant culture is defined by a wealthy genteel class steeped in the nuanced cultural conventions of New England, and that town is experiencing an influx of lower-income minorities from all over the world, then education, which should be a top priority anyway, becomes even more critical.

    Obviously kids should receive a fundamentally sound education, but that is where Gary’s intangibles come in. Kids should also be socialized to feel at ease in their own town and with all the different kinds of people living in it, and that is best achieved by growing up in a diverse environment, and developing familiarity and confidence in negotiating the often bewildering array of cultural mores that may make the difference between flourishing in life and developing a sense of civic standing and responsibility, or not. Sorry, but reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning is not going to cut it.

    I realize that people like TWC, who extract integration from the history of racism and class dynamics in this country, are unsympathetic to the notion that the magnet schools are an enlightened means of encouraging the kind of cross-cultural exposure I and many others think will benefit both West Hartford children and the future of our town. But the fact that the refined and eloquent Obama is beloved of the chattering classes is no indicator of attitudes toward low-income minorities, or that the US has finally transcended its racial divide. I am an Obama supporter, but I have yet to meet an African-American who thinks Obama has a chance of getting elected.

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