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DC NEWS JUNKIE | Bernie Sanders’ 5th District Campaign Coordinator May Run Against Esty

by | Sep 2, 2015 2:45pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Campaign Finance, Congress, 5th CD, Election 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shortly after this story was posted, the Sanders’ campaign’s chief volunteer in Connecticut, Carlos Camacho, announced that Piddock had been removed as coordinator in the 5th District based on her decision to run for the congressional seat. The story has been updated to reflect her change of status with the campaign.

(UPDATED 10 a.m. 9/3) The organizer of the Occupy movement’s Torrington group says she plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty for the 5th Congressional District seat in 2016. Stephanie Piddock, who also had been volunteering as 5th Congressional District coordinator for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, said via email that she intends to make her Green Party candidacy official in two weeks.

“The people need to be represented by The People, not by the moneyed elite whose wealth and self-interest profoundly disconnect them from our reality,” Piddock said. “As the political system exists right now, the metallic clang of money is speech, and the sinister rustle of dollars is a poor substitute for the vigor of votes.”

Volunteers for the Bernie Sanders campaign in the 5th District, Piddock among them, held a kick-off meeting last week at New Britain Town Hall. The group will appear publicly for the first time Sept. 27, marching in Bristol’s “Mum Parade.”

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A recent Des Moines Register poll showed Sanders within seven points of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and Piddock said that Sanders’ campaign was gearing up well among 5th District voters.

“We have generated tremendous buzz via social media, and we already have 800 volunteers total in Connecticut, and 95 in District 5 alone,” she said. “The first Sanders event I attended in Torrington alone drew nearly 100 people, and he’s drawing tens of thousands, often more than Clinton, in larger population centers.”

Piddock, as a potential candidate who has volunteered for the Sanders campaign, has hitched her wagon to his train to some degree.

“His campaign, like mine, is entirely grassroots,” she said of Sanders. “Everything is either donated or out of your own pocket. As his movement continues to grow nationally, we expect it to grow locally; and as it grows, it will be able to support increasingly large rallies and venues.”

That’s not to say Piddock will have an easy go of it if and when she decides to make a run official. The last time a Green Party candidate ran for the 5th District was in 2008. Harold Burbank came in fourth in that race, behind victor and now Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, Republican David Cappiello, and Independent Party candidate Thomas Winn.

In that race, Burbank garnered less than 1 percent of the total votes cast. In the 2014 campaign, incumbent Rep. Elizabeth Esty beat Republican Mark Greenberg by almost eight percentage points.

Piddock, though, remains positive.

“I’m telling the truth, and people respond to that,” she said. “The People are hungry to be heard and to step back into our power. We know what our reality is, we know what our strengths are, and we know what needs to be done to repair our nation, regardless of what moneyed, compromised politicians may say or do.”

As for fundraising, Piddock did not get into detail — there is still more than a year until the election itself — though she did say that “donations already are rolling in.”

“I have not begun to focus on fundraising yet,” she said, “Instead, I am focusing on substance, building my team. I have spoken of my intent to run and have received an amazing amount of support. People know my heart. I am an easy read. I believe that if you are open, honest, and transparent, like Bernie has been for 40 years, the message gets through.”

On platform, Piddock’s primary focus, she said, is homelessness and hunger. She speaks about ineffective political representation and economic inequality but gets passionate when the subject of homelessness comes up. When writing about the issue, she begins to use exclamation points.

“I’m fired up by the fact that we don’t view homelessness and a lack of decent food and healthcare as a national emergency,” she said. “The fact that government isn’t responding to this national humanitarian crisis shocks me! People are forced to live in the woods behind me; I leave them donations, and while donations are important, being a full participant in society with safety and well-being cannot evolve from donations.”

Jordan Fenster can be reached by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or @JordanFenster on Twitter.

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(10) Archived Comments

posted by: adesmar123 | September 2, 2015  3:39pm

Its really sad when you are not referred to by name..but only Bernie Sander 5th district Campaign Coordinator…or maybe her last name really is Coordinator?

posted by: ACR | September 2, 2015  3:57pm


”“I have not begun to focus on fundraising yet,”

In that case she’s already a year behind.
Does she think Esty hasn’t been raising money right along?

posted by: unionleo | September 2, 2015  9:02pm

There is no formal campaign operation for Bernie Sanders in Connecticut or in any of the 5 districts, yet, as our Democratic Primary is not until April 26, 2016   However there are hundreds of excited volunteers in every district all over the state many working separately and others forming pods of volunteer activist groups with no resources other than high octane energy.  The Bernie Sanders CT Team is one of those pods driven by a mission to reach out to volunteers and assist their efforts to spark inclusive democratic action and a Sanders victory in the Democratic Primaries – we call it Feelin The Bern. 
Bernie Sanders encourages full engagement in politics and participatory democracy.  The CT Team does too.  In the case of Ms Piddock in the 5th District, she volunteered to help and demonstrated her passionate support of Bernie Sanders.  Her intentions to run for Congress became known only today, well after her involvement in the CT Team 5th District meetings.  We encourage everyone with a dream to run for office to follow it, but not as part of our effort to elect Bernie.  CT Team volunteer coordinators all have other jobs, interests, aspirations, commitments and dreams.  But the agreed upon collective Team dream is a Bernie Sanders win, while keeping personal interests from detracting from that goal.
If the worst thing that comes from this new engagement in democracy, wildcat volunteerism and a political revolution is more people deciding to run for office, and more people voting making for a more inclusive democracy… Its probably not a bad thing. But for now, the Bernie Sanders CT Team’s volunteer efforts are only focused on Bernie’s campaign.

posted by: SaveCT | September 2, 2015  9:06pm

As far as I know, Bernie Sanders has no official presence in CT. I do know there are several grass roots efforts. “5th District coordinator for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign”? Does Bernie know? I don’t think the coordinator has realized Bernie is running in a DEMOCRATIC primary. Oh yeah, “Coordinator” can’t be your last name because that would be “District” and that’s ridiculous, just like this article.

posted by: mattw | September 2, 2015  10:48pm

Leo, Stephanie announced her run a few weeks ago.

posted by: Debra Cohen | September 2, 2015  11:05pm

The Bernie Sanders campaign here in CT is, at the moment, a purely grass roots effort.  It is important for anyone who acknowledges involvement in this effort to make it very clear that it is not part of the official Bernie Sanders national campaign. It is equally important to make clear that our efforts to elect Bernie Sanders are in no way related to, or connected with, any other campaign, either state or national.  I wish Ms. Piddock well but hope the paper will clarify that her campaign and the campaign launched here in CT by Bernie Sanders Connecticut Team are in no way connected.  Bernie Sanders Connecticut Team is responsible for both the meeting of 5th district volunteers mentioned in this article as well as participation in the upcoming Mum Parade in Bristol.

posted by: pattyp | September 3, 2015  12:22am

Ms. Piddock posted her original responses on her < ahref=“https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1632014960403448&id=1622060458065565”>FB page</a>. 

posted by: art vandelay | September 3, 2015  12:41am

art vandelay

To all the leftist/statist/progressive/socialists in the 5th Congressional District.  I don’t get it. Isn’t Elizabeth Esty left enough for you?

posted by: Politijoe | September 3, 2015  11:08am


@Art: .....Wow
Your propensity to define every individual and every issue within the rigid framework of:
“leftist-statist-progressive-socialists” is a transparent cry for help from someone in the throes of grappling with crippling fear and desperately trying to understand the world around them.

Perhaps they just want to make the country a better place for ALL citizens. Not just the wealthiest or the corporations or the bankers.
Maybe they would like to see more opportunity, less wealth concentration, more infrastructure, less military, more equality in our taxation policies, less monied influence in our politics and more accountability and protections for the middle class.

In your eyes this somehow makes them evil Socialist hell-bent on destroying the nation when all they’re really asking for is fair and equal representation.

posted by: art vandelay | September 3, 2015  8:16pm

art vandelay

If the shoe fits wear it.  Just make sure your fellow leftist/statist/socialist/progressives do not construct a quicksand pit large enough for this nation to fall into.
At present they are doing a damn good job.

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