Harp: “I Smell Victory”

Three days before voters head to the polls, mayoral candidate Toni Harp Saturday dispatched 300 volunteers across the city, targeting 11,000 voters her campaign has identified as likely supporters.

Her campaign gave those numbers Saturday, as Harp led an exuberant get-out-the-vote rally at her campaign headquarters at 560 Whalley Ave.

The effort represents a last push before Tuesday’s Democratic primary, where Harp faces three candidates—Kermit Carolina, Justin Elicker and Henry Fernandez—for the party nomination for the mayor’s seat. Harp has emerged as the front-runner of the race, building the largest campaign treasure chest and racking up by far the most endorsements, including from several major unions that are lending her campaign troops.

The campaigns have shifted to get-out-the-vote mode in the final countdown to Tuesday’s primary.

Melissa Bailey Photo“Because of all of you, I smell victory in the air,” declared Harp (pictured) Saturday.

She spoke to a crowd of over 75 people gathered on the sidewalk outside her headquarters. Harp spent several minutes thanking those who have come together around her campaign, including elected officials from around the city—such as State Sen. Martin Looney, State Rep. Toni Walker, Fair Haven Alderwoman Migdalia Castro, city/town clerk candidate and Alderman Mike Smart, and state Rep. Juan Candelaria—and representatives from major unions.

“Look around you. We’ve become a big family. We’ve come from all across the city of New Haven. We have united for one purpose. And that purpose is Toni Harp,” remarked Candelaria, yelling at the top of his lungs over the sound of traffic going by.

Click on the play arrow at the top of the arrow to watch his and Harps’ remarks.

“We’ve identified over 11,000 supporters of Toni Harp in this city,” announced Harp field director Michael Harris Saturday. “Today, we start bringing them to the polls.”

He urged those gathered to “get out on the streets” and “bring this home for Toni.”

Harp’s campaign manager, Jason Bartlett (pictured), said an estimated over 300 volunteers would be working for Harp over the weekend, about half of those are affiliated with unions that have endorsed Harp. Their goal is to put door-hangers on 11,000 doors of people who have been identified as likely Harp supporters, he said—as well as to speak to other people in those households who might be sympathetic to Harp.

In some wards, the door-hangers promote local aldermanic candidates. Bartlett said the campaign is promoting Maureen Gardner in Ward 19, Aaron Greenberg in Ward 8, as well as all the incumbent aldermen who have endorsed Harp.

Bartlett estimated 18,000 of the city’s 48,000 registered Democrats would come out to vote Tuesday. He said the campaign’s challenge will be to get as many of the likely Harp supporters out to the polls.

“It’s one thing for someone to say they’re for you. It’s another thing for them to get up in the morning and vote,” he said.

The crowd drew representatives from unions like AFSCME Council 4, the American Federation of Teachers, and SEIU 32BJ. Rochelle Palache, SEIU’s statewide political organizer, said five to 10 members of 32BJ would be knocking on doors for Harp this weekend and on Primary Day.

Former Aldermanic President Tomás Reyes and Frank Alvarado (pictured left and center with Clifton Graves), both of whom have left New Haven but are still active Latino politicos here, huddled over the Primary-Day operation they’ll be running in Fair Haven, along with Castro.

Harp gave a special shout-out to two former mayoral candidates who have joined her team: state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield (pictured taking photos) ...

... and Newhallville plumber Sundiata Keitazulu. Keitazulu (pictured) wore a bright red shirt that read, “Kicks on Fire.” He pledged to wear down his shoes knocking on doors for Harp this weekend.

“I’ve got my walking clothes on,” he said.

Sandy Green (pictured) served up hot dogs on a sidewalk grill, then took a moment to dance to Harp’s theme song, Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys. The lyrics—“She’s just a girl and she’s on fire”—refer to Harp’s quest to become the city’s first female mayor.

Ricardo Chardon (pictured), who works for Harp’s son’s business, Renaissance Management, signed up Saturday to knock on doors for Harp.

“It’s time for New Haven to have a female touch,” he said, “someone who can really sympathize with what New Haven needs.”

After Saturday’s rally finished around noon, Harp headed out for a day of public appearances at festivals and sporting events around town. All four candidates appeared to be on a similar circuit, making plans to stop by neighborhood festivals in Trowbridge Square and Chatham Square, a folk festival at Edgerton Park, a youth day on Edgewood, and a Pop Warner football tournament.

Justin Elicker (pictured) stopped by the Wooster Square farmers market to talk to voters. He tried to persuade one undecided voter to join his side, then took down the house number of a public-school teacher, Paul Jones of High School in the Community, who agreed to put up a lawn sign in his Morris Cove home.

Elicker said he already held a rally for campaign volunteers on Thursday at his headquarters on Whalley Avenue. He declined to say how many volunteers his campaign has secured, nor the number of likely supporters he has identified.

Fernandez planned to hold a get-out-the-vote rally on his front porch Sunday in Fair Haven. Spokeswoman Danielle Filson said the campaign has secured “hundreds” of volunteers to knock on doors and distribute door-hangers over the weekend. She also declined to estimate the number of likely supporters.

Carolina, who has the smallest campaign treasure chest, said he did not plan any door-to-door activity on the weekend.

“We’re done with door-to-door. We’re going to where large groups of people are,” he said, reached by phone between visits to football games. He planned to assemble his volunteers Sunday morning at his headquarters to strategize about getting out the vote on Primary Day.

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posted by: robn on September 7, 2013  4:30pm

HALF of Harps canvassers are union affiliated?
Speaks volumes.

posted by: William Kurtz on September 7, 2013  6:18pm

One of her organizers says, “We have united for one purpose. And that purpose is Toni Harp”.

Also speaks volumes. Better to vote for a candidate whose campaign isn’t just an ego boost.

posted by: nh104 on September 7, 2013  6:47pm

I like how some volunteers work for Ms. Harps son.  Nothing fishy about that.

Also, “new haven needs a woman’s touch! ” How out of touch can one person be!  New Haven needs someone that’s in touch with what’s going on and what we need to be doing as a city. A big pile of sympathy will not fix the problems we have. Putting on blinders and sympathy put us in the spot we have.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 7, 2013  7:58pm

Smell in the Air Notes:

1. That smell in the air is the stench of lies.

2. Wha t Toni Harp will bring is higher debt, status quo union contracts and much higher property taxes.

3. Thank god for the general election. The low information voters will be diluted then provided her smell actually proves a better predictor than her ability to balance state budgets.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 7, 2013  9:34pm

Stolen Lines?

Apocalypse Now Gasoline Smell =Victory


posted by: Atticus Shrugged on September 8, 2013  7:29am

I’m glad to see that Senator Harp’s kick-off went well.  She’s been fighting hard for New Haven for the last twenty-five years and is absolutely right in her ideas to move it forward.  And if I were a betting person, I’d certainly bet on her to win the primary.

Messrs. Fernandez and Elicker have run strong campaigns but they do not have the track record or experience to move our city forward. Mr. Fernandez keeps day dreaming about what he did over 5 years ago and romanticizing Gateway and LCI.  He can’t see or won’t admit that LCI has itself become a bastion of cronyism.  He refuses to admit or see that Gateway only exacerbates that “PILOT” funding dilemma the City faces and that he decries.  Indeed, PILOT wasn’t fully funded when Gateway was conceived so why so vocal about it now?  Was he not then able to see the problems and challenges it would bring to bear on the City? 

Similarly, Mr. Elicker has spoken of cutting vital City programs, spoken in code about closing fire departments, and generally appears out of touch with the needs of New Haven’s neediest.  Indeed, the man offered to donate streets to Yale.  And at the debate when challenged on this by Senator Harp, he conspicuously did not say he never offered to donate the street to Yale.  He dodged her direct question because he did not want to lie.  He’s just wrong for our City.

posted by: HewNaven on September 8, 2013  2:23pm

Ricardo Chardon (pictured), who works for Harp’s son’s business, Renaissance Management, signed up Saturday to knock on doors for Harp.

Wait a minute. Harp claims she has no knowledge of her late husband’s and son’s business. Yet, here we have Renaissance Management employees working for her campaign!? Smells more like fish than victory.

posted by: True that on September 8, 2013  5:55pm

Holder-Winfield relegated to unofficial campaign photographer.  Harp calls the other candidates old boys, but is advised by Tomas Reyes and Frank Alvarado ( who don’t live in New Haven).  Sundiata is relegated to a t-shirted shell of a candidate.  Jason Bartlett lost 11 campaigns.  Toni Harp’s family owes more than a million dollars in unpaid taxes and interest.  Reverend Boise Kimber is one of her most outspoken supporters.  Yup, this is exactly what New Haven needs right now.

I have never seen a more dysfunctional campaign in my enitre life.  Fortunately for Toni, this all cones to an end on Tuesday and she can go back to the state senate on Wednesday.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 8, 2013  5:59pm

Former Aldermanic President Tomás Reyes and Frank Alvarado (pictured left and center with Clifton Graves), both of whom have left New Haven but are still active Latino politicos here, huddled over the Primary-Day operation they’ll be running in Fair Haven, along with Castro

Frank Alvarado? Is this the same guy who was down with this.

Summer loan scandals tarnish city hall’s reputation
By Melissa DePetris


posted by: anonymous on September 8, 2013  9:06pm

True that: Don’t forget Sal Brancati, or the over 100 registered lobbyists and contractors who have “paid to play” over the past few months.

posted by: True that on September 8, 2013  9:19pm

Excellent link, three-fifths.  That is the same Frank Alvarado, and that is Jackson-Brooks who is an alderperson and Harp supporter.  If Harp wins, you will simply see more of the same corruption.  Incredible how anyone other than those ho are looking to benefit materially, can support Harp.

posted by: HhE on September 8, 2013  10:16pm

Atticus Shrugged, who is lieing?  Justin Elicker did not speak in code, he said plainly we need to look at our expenditures for the NHFD.  He never offered to give Yale a street, he was just opposed to selling it at fire sale prices.  The status quo in that case was better than the deal we got by rocking the boat.  Meanwhile, Sen. Harp calls Justin an “Old Boy.”