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Toni Harp’s signs came down. A Kermit Carolina sign went up. But the battle for the vote at 48 Foote St. may not be over yet.

The battle was joined on Sunday. Kermit Carolina, a son of Dixwell and one of five Democratic candidates for mayor, came upon Valerie McKinnie Council and Walter Council sitting on their front porch at 48 Foote in the Monterey housing complex, around the corner from where Carolina grew up. Carolina noticed signs on the lawn and in the window for one of his opponents, Toni Harp. He asked why.

Valerie engaged him in a discussion about his receipt of money from the public-financing Democracy Fund. After that discussion (click on this story and on the video to follow it) the Councils promised to keep an open mind.

Fast forward to Tuesday night: The Harp signs were gone. A Carolina sign was in the window.

And Walter was on the front porch.

Where did the Harp signs go? he was asked.

The sign on the lawn had been “full of roaches,” Walter said, so he took it down.

What about the one in the window?

“He [Carolina] asked to me to take it down and put his up,” Walter responded. He said he remains “undecided” in the race.

Valerie wasn’t around. Reached Wednesday morning, she said the sign switch was Walter’s decision. “My husband took it upon his-self. I came home. I said, ‘What is that?’”

She revealed that Walter is supporting Carolina because he considers the candidate “a young man who deserves a chance.”

For her part, Valerie insists she remained uncommitted—and quite skeptical of Carolina’s track record as Hillhouse High School principal. “It just doesn’t jibe with me,” she said.

“There’s no problem,” she added, “with a family being divided” about an election.

Elicker Polls: Some voters got their first phone calls this past week from someone conducting a mayoral poll. The poll focused on three candidates: Harp, Henry Fernandez, and Justin Elicker. It didn’t mention the other two Democratic candidates, Carolina and Sundiata Keitazulu. After a while the poll drilled down on Elicker and the potential pros and cons of his candidacy.

Some people who received the calls contacted the Independent, wondering if it was a “push poll” commissioned by one of Elicker’s opponents.

It turns out Elicker himself commissioned the poll, from a Danbury-based operation. But he won’t say anything about it. “We’re not going to make any comments on campaign strategy,” he responded when asked about it.

The other candidates have not yet commissioned polls. Harp’s campaign manager, Jason Bartlett, said his operation will have a telephone poll up next week. “It’ll be a real poll, a benchmark poll” gauging “the dynamic as it relates to issues and the candidates,” as opposed to a push poll that tries to convince the participant to end up liking or disliking a particular candidate, Bartlett said.

Anchors Aweigh: Amid all the campaigning, two of the candidates, Elicker and Fernandez, were spotting having a drink together at the Anchor Bar on College Street.

“It’s not a big deal,” Elicker said of the meeting. “Henry asked me for a drink. I’m always happy to meet with anybody to hear them out.” He emphasized that “there’s no collaboration between the campaigns. And there won’t be.”

“He and I had never sat down and talked” before, Fernandez said. “I thought it was worthwhile to sit down and have a conversation a little bit.”

Textual Relations

The Elicker campaign Wednesday announced a new text message alert system. People who text “Justin” to 203-989-3737 will receive messages about upcoming campaign events and news.

Elicker linked the new “text message initiative” to his latest policy pitch: “21st-century Technology for City Government.”

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posted by: Hieronymous on July 3, 2013  12:12pm

Please don’t edit or update this article. It’s perfect just the way it is.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 3, 2013  12:19pm

:) I feel like a gitty school girl right now!

posted by: robn on July 3, 2013  12:37pm

I like the fact that the Council family has become New Haven’s Iowa. Pretty soon campaign and news vans will be parked on their front lawn for the rest of the campaign season!

posted by: Hieronymous on July 3, 2013  12:46pm

I guess my prior comment doesn’t make much sense now that you’ve edited the article. Fair enough.

On another note, why don’t the Independent, Register, YDN and whoever else team up to do an independent poll? It’s really difficult to know what’s going on in this race without one.

posted by: Curious on July 3, 2013  1:16pm

I like this a lot.  It’s nice to see some friendliness.

“Amid all the campaigning, two of the candidates, Elicker and Fernandez, were spotting having a drink together at the Anchor Bar on College Street.”

posted by: Eddie on July 3, 2013  1:17pm

It is super interesting that Elicker and Fernandez had a meeting.  Paul do you know if any of the other candidates are having these types of meetings?  My guess is that if they were coordinating campaigns they wouldn’t meet at anchor, but it would still be interesting to know what was discussed.  As it stands, their answers regarding the motivations and content of the meeting are totally opaque.  Paul did they give you any explanation for the motivation or content of the meeting?

posted by: robn on July 3, 2013  2:43pm


It wasn’t an elusive conspiracy, it was a drinking contest and the loser was going to drop out of the race. However, after drinking 30 Shirley temples both candidates got tummy aches and had to go home.

posted by: HhE on July 3, 2013  3:05pm

Eddie, you want a real conspiracy?  Four of the seven candidates, plus one almost ran, were at Alfreda Edward’s retirement party.

posted by: ElmCityVoice on July 3, 2013  3:56pm

The headline of this article is misleading and offensive. There’s a subliminal message that’s unfair to Toni. Like other commenters, I think the Independent should do it’s own poll or, better yet, a Quinnipiac poll, to find out who is really ahead in this race.

[Paul: I agree. Thanks. It wasn’t my intent to give that impression, but I agree with you that the headline did. So I changed it back to the original.]

posted by: Eddie on July 3, 2013  4:36pm

I didn’t allege a conspiracy.  Wouldn’t you all agree that their descriptions of the meeting are opaque.  I just wanted to know if Paul had any more information.   

I really wouldn’t fault them if they discussed coordinating strategies at some level.  With Harp as the front-runner and five candidates running, there should be some opportunities to benefit from some cooperation.  Even if they decided against coordination, I wouldn’t blame them for discussing it. To be fair to Robn, given the information in the article they could also have met for a Shirley temple contest.   

Hhe everyone expects candidates to attend events such as the retirement of an alderman, which is a quasi-public event.  I take the spirit of your comment as a fair point.  Other candidates could be having private meetings.  This is the reason, I asked Paul if this is a common occurrence in this election. 

On a different note, I have to agree that the title of this article and frame are a bit unfair to Harp.  When I read the title, I actually thought the article was reporting polling data.

posted by: Curious on July 3, 2013  5:00pm

ElmCityVoice, I made several pitches to the Quinnipiac Polling Institute to come do some polls, including before and after debates, and they just have too much other stuff going on to manage it.

posted by: robn on July 3, 2013  6:12pm


Thanks for trying. I know some people think there is a shoe-in candidate but my gut tells me its still anything goes. I wouldn’t count out most of the field.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on July 3, 2013  6:21pm

Keep the polls out of this race. Pollsters are political prognosticators who try to tell voters the outcome of elections before the people get a chance to exercise their right to vote. I regard polls as undermining to the democratic process. I think they have a tendency to undermine the voter turnout. Once polls are made public, some potential voters may tend to see the election as a already determined. This will cause some to feel that going to the polls is a waste of time because the polls have already announced who will win. What is so alarming is the fact that the science of polling has become so precise and their accuracy rates are disturbingly high. So let’s forget about the polls and focus on getting the voters out!

posted by: HhE on July 3, 2013  7:36pm

I think there is something to Thomas Alfred Paine’s position, which is why I do not watch returns during the Presidential election. 

Eddie, when I talked with one of the candidates at Alfreda’s party, and said how awakward this was, he said, “This happens several times a day.”  (Alfreda had a strict no campaigning rule.  Sensible.)

I could see Mr. Elicker and Mr. Fernandez talking about the race in very general terms, but not colaberating or engaging in strategic talks, or even tactical ones.  They represent such different ideas, contingencies, and methods. 

Indeed, I were Justin, I would not want Henry’s endorsement (should the latter drop out of the race) as it would alienate my base. 

My best GUESS:  Sen. Harp wins the primary, and she or Justin wins the general.