It's been exactly one week since and were nominated by their parties to run for the General Assembly seat Mike Lawlor occupied for 24 years. A special election will be held on Feb. 22, giving candidates a total of six weeks to campaign compared to the six to 12 months for a regular election.
The candidates are racing up and down the trail to reach as many voters as possible. Their truncated campaign time is further challenged by the bitter-cold and icy weather and shorter days.
There will be no more fundraisers. Both are using the state's public financing and are not allowed to receive donations once they've raised the mandated $3,750 from a minimum of 113 contributors to qualify for the $19,500 award. Both report they've jumped through that hoop.
As far as campaign issues, Albis' and Monaco's are nearly identical: cut state spending; fix the state deficit; maintain the town's $20 million in state aid for the schools; create jobs; and draw businesses to the state.
Popular thought is this election will come down to which party gets out the most voters.
Barely off the trail from her unsuccessful bid last November to unseat Lawlor, Monaco still has her campaign shwag and is ready to roll. She said she's put six or seven of her signs from last year on Coe Avenue, Short Beach Road, North High Street, Foxon Road and Silver Sands Road.
She said though a shorter campaign season has its drawbacks, especially in the winter, she can see a plus for constituents.
"It gives you a different perspective of how the person is going to be in the Legislature. Are they able to work under pressure? Are they able to keep everything in balance and run an effective campaign?" said Monaco, 50. "You have to be able to perform at the top of your game. If you're not able to you're doing a disservice to your town."
Unlike last year, she said she doesn't plan to do much door-to-door canvassing but has already kicked off phone calling. Monaco, who has a general law practice on Hemingway Avenue, stressed there will be no robo calls coming from her camp.
She said she hopes to debate Albis at least once on ETV and has made a pitch to have the League of Women Voters moderate, as the organization usually does in East Haven.
Asked why people should vote for her, Monaco said, "I bring many skills and tools to the table that have been proven out over time. I'm a creative thinker. I also have life experience in understanding life. My sales experience. My legal experience. My experience working in charitable organizations."
Last August, the Republican candidate initiated the Ask the Lawyer program at the Hagaman Library, which meets one-on-one with residents on the third Wednesday of the month. Monaco is also a member of the Greater New Haven Exchange Club, a national volunteer organization that works to prevent child abuse and promote Americanism.
Albis also sees a silver lining in having a short, cold campaign period.
"Less time for getting stressed out," said the 26-year-old Democratic challenger.
And a downside. "But the stress is compressed into this very short time. I hope I'll have enough help to get everything done I want to get done," he said.
Unlike his Republican rival, Albis said he plans to knock on lots of doors equipped with his walking cards.
Later this week, he said Democrats are opening a headquarters on Main Street, next to Webster's Bank. When Albis was a kid, he said the site was a Metcalf drugstore.
He said he's been endorsed by AFCSME Council 4, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 and the Working Families Party. On the ballot, his name will appear on both the WFP and the Democratic Party lines.
A few years after getting an economics degree from New York University, Albis took to the road. He and two East Haven friends had formed a band called Bad Apples, they incorporated it as Bad Apples, LLC, and toured the country playing funk, jazz and R&B, mostly at bars and nightclubs. Albis plays piano and saxophone.
"It was a good experience," he said. "We learned a lot about being responsibility for our money and our time." He said the band did their own bookings and money management.
Albis said he's published his written music and belongs to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.