Today: Jun 17, 2024

Looking for a change in New Haven’s mayoral race

Caitlin WilliamsonSpecial to the Southern News

A turn of events have occurred with the mayoral race for New Haven this week, with two of the candidates dropping from the campaign after Toni Harp, State Senator, won the Democratic mayoral primary. The race began with four determined candidates, which the New Haven Register described as “all four are decent, honorable people who love New Haven and have served it well in various capacities.”

The original four were Kermit Carolina, Justin Elicker, Henry Fernandez, and state senator for almost twenty years, Toni Harp. Carolina and Fernandez dropped out after Harp stole the win for the Democratic primary, and with the 23% of the remaining votes towards Elicker.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. has been in office for twenty years now, with improvement to New Haven’s school systems, downtown area, and a focus on decreasing the reputation of danger throughout the city.

Justin Elicker, running as an independent candidate, has worked on the Board of Alderman for two terms now. He’s described on his own campaign website as, “One of the most active, vocal and effective members of the Board.”

Elicker has done majority of his work on the safety of family oriented neighborhoods, as well as motor vehicle regulations.

mayoral race

Although familiar with the city and how to make New Haven safer, statements made earlier this week from Harp question his credibility. Harp said to Jeff Saperstone of NBC news, “He [Elicker] hasn’t really achieved a lot of a local legislative official… so I think that there’s a lot that we can compare.”

Harp does out trump Elicker on years of experience working for New Haven and the people. However, Elicker is not going down without a fight. Making several comments about Harp’s financial fundraising towards her campaign and referring to it as a “pay to play” game.

Speaking to the New Haven Independent, Elicker said “this is a policy of ‘pay-for-access to Toni Harp.’ Forcing organizations to pay to a campaign to get access to the politician is exactly the type of pay to play that we must stop in New Haven,” to reporters, Thomas MacMillan and Paul Bass.

With any campaign, comes along harsh words and statements made from both parties. But the race really comes down to the people; who they want in their office taking on New Haven. With the crime history the city has, a reported 13 homicides in 2013, and high property taxes, the winner will have a lot to prove.

UConn graduate and New Haven resident Erin Kiley seems to be leaning more towards the underdog, Elicker.

“He’s a fresh face, I think New Haven needs someone who will think more out of the box rather than follow the same strategies others involved in politics for a longer time may,” said Kiley. “I really like his involvement he has had with New Haven and the people. He seems passionate and gunning for exactly what the people want.”

The candidates will just have to wait, and continue on their campaigns until the beginning of November for the voting process.

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