Christian Strumolo, one of three candidates in this year’s election for Verona Town Council, has officially launched his campaign. Strumolo, who previously ran for Council in 2005, is focusing his platform on Verona’s infrastructure needs and pledging to completely self-fund his campaign.
In a prepared statement, Strumolo describes himself as a resident of Verona for over seven years, with an 11-year-old who attends H.B Whitehorne School. “My fiancé and I chose to raise our son in Verona because it’s a small community and family friendly town where everyone knows each other,” he said. “The state of our current infrastructure is concerning. The condition of the baseball fields, police station, fire station #2, wastewater plant, and the affordable housing site are only a few examples of pressing issues that cannot wait another 4 years to be addressed.” Strumolo did not say, in his statement or on his campaign website how, specifically, he would tackle these matters.
Strumolo has a campaign website, Instagram and Facebook pages.
The promise to not accept donations is a change for Strumolo. He previously ran for Council in 2005, finishing sixth in a field of eight candidates with a running mate, Ryan Graham, who finished seventh. According to a report filed then by the Strumolo-Graham campaign with the New Jersey Election Law Commission, the two raised $45,453.99 and spent $42,528.99. Of the total raised, $29,100 was in the form of donations of more than $300; $12,700 of these donations were from people or groups not in Verona. Strumolo was the campaign manager for Diana Ferrera and Aaron Spiegeland in last November’s Board of Education race, and both received substantial donations from outside Verona.
Alex Roman, who is seeking a third Council term in this year’s race, is once again promising to not accept campaign donations. But Christine McGrath said by email on Wednesday night that she could not make such a pledge.
“While I plan on contributing personal funds to my re-election campaign, the majority of funds raised will be from generous donations from Verona residents,” McGrath said. “I believe it is really important for Verona residents to invest in good candidates who want to serve in local government. Campaign costs have ballooned in recent years. It is not realistic to ask candidates to self-fund campaigns that cost over $15,000, and some prior candidates have spent much more than that. Self-funding at this level creates unintentional barriers for future residents running for public office. I appreciate every Verona resident who has invested in my campaign.”
A pledge to self-fund is not the same thing as a pledge to limit campaign spending, however. About 20 years ago, one candidate for Town Council spent $30,000 of his own money to win a seat. Roman has again said he would strive to hold spending below the limit that triggers detailed reporting to the Election Law Commission, which is $5,800 this year.
The election will be held on Tuesday, May 9. The Junior Woman’s Club will again hold a candidates’ forum but has not yet released the date of that event.