Pernerewski Leads by Wide Margin in Fundraising in Race for Waterbury Mayor


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WATERBURY – With less than two weeks before the general election, Waterbury Board of Aldermen President and Democratic mayoral candidate Paul Pernerewski Jr. is far outpacing his Republican challenger, Dawn Maiorano in the race for campaign cash.

The two candidates, by state law, released their disclosure statements on Oct. 10. Those statements show that for the most recent filing period  – July 1 to Sept. 30 – that Pernerewski brought in $23,405 from 170 contributors, including from 90 city residents. His campaign has $46,435 on hand from the entire time of the campaign and has raised a total of $229,423 to date throughout the entire campaign.

Maiorano, a newcomer to the political scene and owner-operator of a family-owned funeral home business, trails her opponent significantly. By comparison, she has brought in $12,830 from 133 contributors, including 78 Waterbury residents in the most recent filing report. The Maiorano campaign has $30,501 on hand from the entire campaign and has raised $94,994 in total.

Pernerewski leads his opponent in virtually every campaign contribution category. He had contributions of $1,000 – the maximum allowed under state law – from seven contributors for the latest filing period as compared to one $1,000 contributor for Maiorano.

And, Pernerewski has more support from big donors. For the last filing period, 14 contributors gave $350 or more as compared to five contributors who gave $350 or more to the Maiorano campaign.

Most of Maiorano’s contributors in the last filing period were from those giving $100 or less.

The 61-year-old Pernerewski, who is retired as general counsel of the Connecticut Airport Authority, had contributions in the last filing period from 48 individuals who work for the city of Waterbury, including the police chief, numerous police officers, civil engineers, city attorneys and even Mayor Neil O’Leary. O’Leary, a Democrat, has served as mayor since December 2011 and announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek another term.

Pernerewski also had the support the last filing period from six attorneys and six individuals in either the contracting field or the construction business.

The 55-year-old Maiorano had the support of numerous retired people and business leaders, including individuals from companies including Webster Bank; Walgreens; William Raveis Real Estate; and Boehringer Ingelheim. 

Maiorano also had the financial support from four city employees, including a firefighter, a Public Works employee; and two city teachers. And, she had the financial support from three attorneys and two individuals who work at her family’s funeral home business.

Pernerewski told CT Examiner that his financial support – including from nearly 50 city employees – is a testament of his long tenure in city government and that people trust his judgment.

“There are people who work for the city who know where the city was when it was bankrupt. They know we are now moving forward to fiscal stability and they are happy with the work we’ve done. They like the direction the city is going in and are happy to support us,” Pernerewski said… “I am very heartened by all of this. It is my first time running as a single candidate that is not part of a team as a member of the Board of Aldermen. I did not know what to expert and it’s a little surprising that we’ve done so well. It’s a result of a strong message and a vision for Waterbury and the work I’ve done the last 20 years on behalf of the city.”

For her part, Maiorano told CT Examiner that those with the biggest purse strings do not necessarily win elections.

“I am definitely the underdog, but don’t count me out. Bigger budgets don’t always win the race,” she said.

Asked why she thought her opponent had such a big edge in financial contributions, Maiorano said: “He has the backing of Mayor O’Leary and O’Leary’s arms reach wide…I think I’m a strong candidate and a strong option and Waterbury residents haven’t seen that in quite awhile. It’s an exciting race and people are looking for change and that’s what I have been talking about, what I am promoting.”

Below are some of the notable donations to the two candidates:

Paul Pernerewski (Courtesy of the candidate)

Paul Pernerewski Jr.

  • Paul Lagasse, Owner, Lagasse Property Rentals, $1,000
  • Willie Davis, Connecticut State Marshall, $1,000
  • Jessica Brown, Connecticut State Marshall, $1,000
  • Candice Graziano, Attorney, Graziano Attorney At Law, $1,000
  • Joseph Summa, Attorney, Summa & Ryan, $500
  • Vincent Nanfito, General Contractor, AVT Construction, Inc., $500
  • Joseph Vrabely, President, Atlantic Steel & Processing, LLC, $500
  • Anthony Pernerewski, Paul’s brother and a Delta Airlines Pilot, $500 
  • Joe Britton, Attorney, Waterbury Board of Education, $325
  • Anthony Glassman, Attorney, Pullman & Comely, $250
  • Nancy MacMillan, Executive Director, Waterbury Land Bank Authority, $100
  • Neil O’Leary, Waterbury Mayor, $100  
  • Mark Lombardo, Deputy Director of Waterbury Public Works, $50
  • Daniel Lauer, Deputy Chief of Police for Waterbury, $50
  • Fernando Spagnolo, Waterbury Police Chief, $50
  • Larry Butler, Waterbury State Representative, $50 
  • Jennifer Rose, Executive Secretary to Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, $50 
  • Michael Salvio, Waterbury Alderman, $50
Waterbury Republican mayoral candidate Dawn Maiorano (Courtesy of the candidate)

Dawn Maiorano

  • Joseph Gervase, IT Supervisor, Connecticut Department of Children and Families, $1,000
  • Susan Langois, Nursing, Lenco Labs, $500
  • William DeMaida, Constable, $500
  • Michelle Terninko, Director of Revenue Management, Marriott International, $350
  • Carolyn Spooner, Engineer Sikorsky Aircraft, $150  
  • Angelo Fusco, Engineer, Raytheon Technology, $100
  • Anthony Vitrone, Supervisor, CT Transit, $100
  • Deborah Cronin, Realtor, William Raveis Real Estate, $100
  • Katharine Mahoney, IT executive, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, $100
  • Selim Noujaim,Executive Vice President, Noujaim Tool Co., Inc., $100
  • Mario Teta, Director, Teta Enterprises, $50 
  • Deborah Cronin, Realtor, William Raveis Real Estate, $50
  • David Ventura, Banker, Wells Fargo Bank, $50

Robert Storace

Robert Storace is a veteran reporter with stints at New Britain Herald, the New Haven Register, the Connecticut Post, Hartford Business Journal and the Connecticut Law Tribune. Storace covers the State Capitol for CT Examiner. T: 203 437 5950