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Jan. 6 protester, who entered U.S. Capitol, wants to be mayor of Connecticut town

Gino DiGiovanni Jr. (lower right, facing left) appears outside the U.S. Capitol, January 06, 2021, in a screenshot from a video used as evidence by the Department of Justice in their case against Nicholas DeCarlo. DiGiovanni later entered The Capitol through the Upper West Terrace door.
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Department of Justice
Derby Alderman Gino DiGiovanni Jr., 41, appears (lower right, facing left) in a screenshot from a video used as evidence by the Department of Justice in its case against Nicholas DeCarlo. DiGiovanni later entered the Capitol through the Upper West Terrace door.

A man who breached the U.S. Capitol in January 2021 says he’s running for mayor in Derby.

Gino DiGiovanni Jr., an alderman in Derby, has filed a candidate registration form with the State Elections Enforcement Commission and confirmed to Connecticut Public that he’s running.

DiGiovanni, who acknowledges entering the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, defended his presence. Hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building that day, trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“I wasn’t an elected official at that time, I wasn’t going there to do anything nefarious,” DiGiovanni said. “I was going there to listen to the president speak for the last time.”

A nonpartisan nonprofit group, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, says DiGiovanni is “unfit to serve” in elected office.

"Mr. DiGiovanni admits that he was part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 -- a mob that was assembled for the purpose of and succeeded in interrupting the peaceful transfer of presidential power for the first time in American history,” said Donald Sherman, the agency’s senior vice president and chief counsel.

Sherman said DiGiovanni may be constitutionally disqualified as a result.

DiGiovanni argues that he wasn’t convicted of a crime.

The U.S. Department of Justice said last week that it hasn’t charged DiGiovanni with anything. But other Capitol protesters have been charged with entering or remaining in a restricted building.

In the race for mayor, DiGiovanni will run against a fellow Republican who’s defended him in the past: the incumbent mayor, Richard Dziekan.

In a statement to Connecticut Public in 2022, Dziekan dismissed the news that DiGiovanni was at the Capitol, describing it as “politics, pure and simple” and that if DiGiovanni wasn’t an elected Republican official, then the matter “would have never seen the light of day.”

Dziekan didn’t respond to a recent request for comment regarding DiGiovanni’s plans to run for mayor.

Democrat Joe DiMartino has also filed paperwork as a candidate for Derby mayor.

“I welcome all candidates into Derby’s race for Mayor,” DiMartino said in a statement. “Our city can only benefit from an open discussion and exchange of ideas.”

Party endorsements in the mayoral race will happen the week of July 18-25.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.