Harp Scores Decisive Victory

Toni Harp got closer to becoming New Haven’s first-ever female mayor Tuesday night by capturing half the votes in a four-way Democratic primary.

Now New Haven has a two-way mayoral race going into the general election, between Harp and Justin Elicker.

Click here to see a ward-by-ward breakdown of all of New Haven’s Democratic Primary election results.

Harp received 49.8 percent of the votes cast in Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary, just shy of the magic number of 50 percent, a goal of her campaign.

Harp celebrated her victory with a raucous crowd at Keys to The City nightclub on Long Wharf, where she was introduced by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Melissa Bailey PhotoHarp said through her campaign, she “I crisscrossed this city and I went to too many communities that feel that they are the stepchildren of this city”: Foxon, Beaver Hill, East Shore, Westville, Dwight, and the Hill. “I went across this city and there were very few places that felt like they got their due.”

“Under my leadership, everyone will get their due,” she vowed.

Harp thanked her neighborhood campaign teams and the unions that supported her.

“Hundreds of union people hit the streets for Toni today,” Central Labor Council President Bob Proto said in a conversation afterwards. “We did the work.” Proto’s council and the two most politically powerful local unions, Yale’s UNITE HERE Locals 34 and 35 and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, endorsed Harp’s campaign and devoted extensive financial, staff and volunteer resources.

“It’s a very substantial win when you get 50 percent in a four-way race,” state Sen. Martin Looney, one of Harp’s main supporters, observed after the returns came in.

Justin Elicker took 23.2 percent of the citywide vote; Henry Fernandez, whose campaign picked up momentum in recent weeks, followed behind with 18.9 percent.

Kermit Carolina came in with 8.1 percent.

Fernandez and Carolina promptly announced they will not run in the general election, even though they had secured independent spots on the ballot.

Elicker has an independent spot, too, and is pressing ahead. His candidacy will depend on his ability to attract a majority of the city’s registered 18,316 independent voters and 2,553 registered Republicans.

“We’ll see you in November,” Elicker said to about 100 supporters gathered at O’Toole’s pub on Orange Street. “No one believed we would come this far.”

He said he’d expected to win more votes in the primary. Then he spoke of all the unaffiliated voters; he said they represent people disaffected with party machines. “Those people are ours,” he proclaimed to an outburst of applause.

Then he added, “We have zero dollars.” He nevertheless repeated that he will continue abiding by his pledge to limit himself to individual contributions of $370 (rather than the $1,000 permitted by law) and to swear off donations from political committees. Those are the terms he accepted in order to receive matching public dollars in the primary under the city’s public financing system, the Democracy Fund. He can’t participate in the system in the general election.

Fernandez announced his intention not to run in the general election at a post-primary party at Michael’s on Court Street.

“New Haven deserves a run-off between the two top finishers,” he told a group of over 100 supporters.

Carolina delivered a similar message to the crowd gathered at his Dixwell Avenue headquarters.

“I submit to the will of the people of New Haven,” Carolina declared, acknowledging Harp’s “resounding” victory. He complimented Fernandez and Elicker for their campaigns, too. “I’m excited we ran the kind of campaign we wanted to run,” he added.

In a closely watched aldermanic race, organizers affiliated with Yale’s UNITE HERE Locals 34 and 35 failed to unseat Downtown Alderman Doug Hausladen in Ward 7. Yale undergraduate Ella Wood, who was supported by the unions, did give him a spirited challenge, with turnout far higher in the ward than in past elections. Hausladen beat Wood 353 to 251. And in Ward 19, which covers Prospect Hill and Newhallville, attorney Michael Stratton won the primary for the open seat against union-backed opponent Maureen Gardner. Both Gardner and Wood have secured spots as independents for the general election. Wood said after the polls closed that she is not sure yet if she’ll continue her campaign.

She said she will “talk to my supporters” to see whether “we can accomplish more by spending our time doing other work.”

Labor-backed candidates fared better in Wooster Square’s Ward 8, where Aaron Greenberg defeated Peter Webster in a primary for the open seat there, 404 to 152; and in Newhallville’s Ward 20, where incumbent Delphine Clyburn beat back a comeback challenge by former Alderman Charles Blango, 432 to 330.

Other labor-backed incumbent candidates prevailed as well: Frank Douglass in Dwight’s Ward 2; Barbara Constantinople in Bella Vista’s Ward 11; Santiago Berrios-Berrios in Fair Haven’s Ward 14; Jeanette Morrison in Dixwell’s Ward 22; Darryl Brackeen in Westville’s Ward 26; and Angela Russell in Beaver Hills’ Ward 27.

In the race for city/town clerk, Michael Smart (pictured with 2-month-old granddaughter Ky’Mani) defeated Sergio Rodriguez 52.9 percent to 47.1 percent. Rodriguez has a spot on the Nov. 5 ballot, as does incumbent Clerk Ron Smith, who did not make the ballot for the Democratic primary.

Thomas MacMillan and Allan Appel contributed reporting.

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posted by: TheMadcap on September 10, 2013  9:43pm

Harp vs Elicker, here we go!

posted by: Citizen X on September 10, 2013  9:48pm

I find it very difficult to have a shred of respect for Elicker’s decision to flip off the Democratic Party and forge ahead as a sore loser. This move makes me hope that he and his supporters have many more losing days ahead.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 10, 2013  10:00pm

Oh god sore loser talk again. I guess we shouldn’t just have general elections, whoever the 12% of the city who turns out to vote for in the Democratic primary shall be the anointed one, because you can’t run for mayor without running in the Democratic primary.

posted by: woosterbill on September 10, 2013  10:14pm

As a citizen of New Haven who chooses not to affiliate myself with any major political party, I am extremely thankful that Elicker is staying in the race to give me and others like me an actual choice.

This city is far more than the political machine of the DTC and its string-pulling suburban union leadership, and every voter deserves the chance to have his or her voice heard regardless of party affiliation.

posted by: East Rocker 1986 on September 10, 2013  10:23pm

I’d agree with Citizen X if the Democratic Party had chosen a qualified candidate with a resounding record for resolving the dire issues that the city faces or had some sort of approachable platform that wasn’t built upon a base of sound bites and platitudes.

Hopefully Harp is embarrassed in November and disappears back up to Hartford. Then again, that’s investing too much faith in a population that seems satisfied with a status quo which preserves New Haven as a future laughing stock of the nation.

Seriously, what is wrong with the voters of this city? The union and an unpopular governor tell them to jump, and they do it? Does the voting population lack an individual voice, or have a mere speck of political intelligence? Or, more likely, is it a population willing to be like lemmings and leap into the fire just because they’re told it’s the thing to do for a political machine that hasn’t cared about their interests since day one.

Look around: do you really see results coming with Toni Harp in office? An individual who is supported by every single person who put us where we are today. Is change really that terrifying? Or do you people want to test the waters and see what happens when ineffectual politicians continue to underfund pension pools and bend to the will of the union (a union, mind you, that has hired some of the most incompetent city employees around and keeps them vested for decades because… hey, it’s in writing).

Seriously, it makes me sick what this city and this state do every year at the polling places.

posted by: Lisa on September 10, 2013  10:27pm

I am thrilled that Justin will press on.  He truly has the welfare of this city in his heart. Dem or Indy, his views on how to help this suffering city are the best I’ve heard.  He cuts out all “big money” so is in debt to no one but his voters.  And I have no doubt that Justin will deliver on his promises to us.  No big money backing means no “appointments” to pay back “supporters.”  Instead we will have people appointed because they are qualified and deserve the job.  We will have a reined in budget.  We will have creative, eco-friendly solutions to transportation through this city. Justin is the infusion of fresh vision our city needs.

posted by: robn on September 10, 2013  10:30pm


You need to focus your attention on your own candidate, and seriously contemplate why 80% of her campaign dollars come from outside of New Haven.
White Suburban Union Control

posted by: LoveNH on September 10, 2013  10:32pm

What a race this is going to be!  Justin Elicker is an amazing candidate, and I look forward to his independent voice continuing to resonate across this great city.  My money’s on Elicker. NHI has already told us whose money is on Harp.

posted by: Hieronymous on September 10, 2013  10:46pm

I wish Justin had done better but given Henry’s gracious exit it doesn’t much matter. What matters is money and Justin has none. It will be interesting to see what he can scrape together without matching funds, without large donations, and having already tapped most of his base. Harp is about to raise hundreds of thousands, so this starting to look like repeat of 2011 except with a way more qualified challenger, but no anti-incumbency waive to batter the favorite.

posted by: Citizen X on September 10, 2013  10:46pm

Elicker’s money and votes come from white people and, yet, you think he represents a city that is more than two-thirds minority. He will get slapped down again in November, but at least the white folks who can’t stomach voting for a black candidate will feel like they have an option.

posted by: HewNaven on September 10, 2013  10:50pm

Hardly a decisive win for Harp when you consider that all the independent/unaffiliated voters, and all the voters affiliated with other parties (e.g. Republicans) have yet to vote, and most of them by definition do not support machine politics and career politicians. Its also likely that Justin will get most of Henry’s and Kerm’s votes. I’m still a little frightened to see how much money Harp’s suburban donors will cough up in order to silence a reformer like Elicker, and to what ends Harp/Bartlett will go in order to smear their clean elections opponent. The money and power will face a true test in November.

posted by: East Rocker 1986 on September 10, 2013  10:56pm

Citizen X, wouldn’t you better assert your position by deriding Elicker’s ideologies or lauding Harp’s instead of turning to the race card? To me, that shows you’re woefully ill-equipped to participate in a discussion about local politics on any level. Right out of the gate, you move to the most base of attacks on people opposed to Harp.

That’s incredibly sophomoric, don’t you think?

posted by: anonymous on September 10, 2013  11:00pm

Citizen X: New Haven, and the democratic party, are more than the sum of 6,833 votes.

Our city’s party insiders who are currently making most decisions behind closed doors might not see it that way, but most democrats do.

Do you think that Elicker’s campaign can overcome Harp’s to-be-millions of dollars from White suburban interests, White contractors, and White lobbyists?

On another note, while Elicker has no money remaining, it is a good sign is that he has received over 1,100 contributions from city residents in this election, while Harp has had about 400.

posted by: FrontStreet on September 10, 2013  11:03pm

And I expect dirty tricks Toni to, in more subtle ways and with sly code words, take on the race-based rhetoric of citizen x.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on September 10, 2013  11:19pm

Be all that as it may, in fact the voting patterns today strikingly reflected the racial makeup of the various wards.  Despite the fact that Harp’s financial support is “white, suburban,” what people see when they look at her is an older Black woman, and when they look at Elicker they see an extremely upper-middle-class looking younger White male.  This will probably be even more pronounced in the general election, where voters tend to be less well informed and less passionate than in primaries.

Regardless of his qualifications and commitments, Justin will have his work cut out to counteract that “vote for someone who looks like me” reflex.

For starters, he should can the campaign photo of him and his wife and his big friendly dog against the background of green trees.  Give me a break.  Any consultant would tell you that absolutely screams “ELITIST”!

posted by: beyonddiscussion on September 10, 2013  11:23pm

The election results speak for themselves. An overwhelming win for Harp by a more than 2-1 margin over her nearest competitor with a strong showing in every area of the city. For some reason, her accomplishments, endorsements and support will be viciously attacked here. But I was always taught that such attacks tell more about those who make them, than about the person under attack.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 10, 2013  11:25pm

Citizen X:

You left out the part where Harp’s money has basically come from all white people as well. At least Elicker’s white people money actually came from New Haven. So are Carolina and Fernandez’s voters just more racists who won’t vote for a black woman?

posted by: grounded on September 10, 2013  11:32pm

This is a terrible result for Elicker and it can’t be spun any other way.  He placed just a few points ahead of Fernandez despite an incredibly loyal base and significant volunteer effort.  East Rock just did not turn out for its supposed golden boy.  Elicker’s a smart guy with some good ideas but he clearly doesn’t have the political acumen to swing it in the big leagues.

Elicker talked a big game about refusing to make deals but sometimes politics is about deal-making.  Self-righteous know-it-alls hate deal-making.  Politically astute and effective leaders know that it’s actually called coalition building.  Sometimes, despite a well-organized campaign, dedicated volunteers and a loyal base, you only get to 24%.  And in those circumstances, the way you express your political voice is to build a coalition to get yourself up to 51%.

I sincerely hope that Elicker’s supporters stop being delusional about his chances in November but also don’t get disillusioned.  There’s room in New Haven politics for them but they need to carve it out for themselves and they need to work with the other 75% of folks in New Haven to get there.  Complaining about how Harp is bought and paid for isn’t going to get them there.

On another note, congrats to Mike Smart on riding Toni Harp’s coattails into a do nothing job.  Tough break for Sergio Rodriguez who would actually be a fantastic public servant as city clerk.

posted by: swatty on September 10, 2013  11:34pm

@ Citizen X

black, white, green, yellow…I have a hard time watching a mother say she has nothing to do with a family business that owes the state 1M and a son who is a slum owner.

posted by: Sarah.Miller on September 10, 2013  11:43pm

For the first time in a generation, independent voters will get a say in New Haven electoral politics. What a great day for New Haven.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 11, 2013  12:11am


A 2 term alderman managed to get near 1/4 of the vote while a 25 year local alderman then state senator with a giant war chest and a city union machine to back her just managed to get 50% of the vote. She got double the vote with almost 7x the amount of money raised in the past two months and huge name recognition. I’m not sure how this is terrible especially given the fact given all 3 other candidates positioned themselves as the anti-Harp, I don’t think Harp is going to get most of Carolina and Fernandez’s voters. Where independents and Democrats who didn’t vote in the primary wind up swinging to.

posted by: Jessica Feinleib on September 11, 2013  12:11am

This is hardly the “victory” that the Harp camp was hoping for. 
The power of the real New Haven grown unpaid volunteers was seen today.  I can’t wait to talk up Elicker to all of New Haven’s registered voters. 
Now is the time to redouble our efforts, to dig into our many diverse and home town pockets and donate to the Elicker campaign for the long haul.  November here we come.

posted by: accountability on September 11, 2013  12:33am

Great victory for grassroots democracy. Hundreds of volunteers made this happen.

Good for Henry and Kermit. Beaten two to one, Justin should either drop out too, or refund the tax money that we gave him. Continuing is a gross violation of the spirit of an important law.

posted by: grounded on September 11, 2013  12:38am

@ Madcap

Most November voters walk into the booth and pull the lever for the D or R.  It takes a real operation to sell voters on an Independent.  And today’s results don’t bode well for Elicker’s operation.  I have nothing against you or him and I’m agnostic about a Harp mayoralty (I want to be optimistic but I do have concerns, concerns that have been expressed by many others on these pages in the past weeks) but Elicker has zero chance of winning in November.  He got blown out in most wards across the City and in the wards that were supposed to carry him to somewhere around 30% (which would have made today a Harp/Elicker race rather than a Harp/everyone else race) he just didn’t get there.  He has evidenced no ability to win. 

It’s worth remembering that 2 years ago, Jeff Kerekes did better than Justin Elicker with no funds, no political experience and minimal operation in a 4 way primary with results remarkably similar to tonight’s results (42/24/18/16).  And none of us thought Kerekes could pull it out in November. 

And Toni Harp is not John DeStefano.  She is immensely popular.  You may think she’s corrupt or whatever but she has done a lot of good for a lot of people over a long period of time.  Most people in this City, not because they’re dumb, not because they’re bought and paid for, but because they’ve lived here for longer than 5 minutes and they’ve benefited from Harp’s work in Hartford, like Toni Harp.  And Carolina and Fernandez voters will not break overwhelmingly for Justin.  Many of them will go to Toni, both because they are familiar with her work and resume and because, honestly, people like a winner.  Consider this tough love: your guy can’t win in November.  If you want a voice in local government, you need to come up with another strategy.

posted by: Gener on September 11, 2013  12:47am

Regurgitated cliche after regurgitated cliche.
That’s some fresh stuff!

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 11, 2013  12:51am


While Henry’s departure from the race may ‘seem’ gracious, that is just part of the political panoply.

The truth is probably closer to this—

While O’Henry’s ‘Handler’s’  may be willing to bankroll a ‘second-place thoroughbred with backstretch strength, they are not willing to finance a ‘dark horse” who costs too much to stable..

posted by: XT on September 11, 2013  1:02am

The primary left me with a bitter taste about local politics and its ruling moneyed interests. I am particularly disillusioned with the unions and their selfish tactics that ignore the difficulty policy choices that have to be made in our city. This election evaporated any support I have for our local unions and makes me sad that political gaming and retribution has been their strategy instead of working together to make the city’s budget and democratic system more sustainable and truly progressive.

posted by: meh on September 11, 2013  1:23am

@ TheMadcap
My issue with Elicker’s “white people money,” despite its New Haven provenance, is that it comes from the kind of white people whose public expression in East Rock community groups/listservs is full of coded racism/constant entreaties to watch out for folks who “don’t look like they belong here.” (Wonder who that might be referring to? Although my favorite was a few years ago when one citizen-witness said he couldn’t identify an attempted thief because “it was dark, and so was the perp!”)

Perhaps it’s wrong of me to hold Elicker responsible for the attitudes of many in his base, but I don’t see how writing his ticket based on the support of groups where those attitudes are common leaves him un-beholden to their “special interest,” as compared to Harp and her union supporters. It’s naive to think that anyone is free of so-called special interests, as anyone who carves out a political career does so by cultivating the support of particular groups of people who have common interests, however defined.

If Fernandez had stayed in the race, I would have a much harder choice come November. Oh well.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 11, 2013  2:26am

Robn called the chicanery from the start.

posted by: anonymous on September 11, 2013  7:02am

Swatty by the time this is over Mr. Harp’s business will have donated $10,000 - or $20,000 - enough to hire a lot of canvassers from West Hartford.

No wonder Harp has proposed to do away with the Democracy Fund and with LCI. Her funders are feeling threatened and want huge suburban interests and slumlords to have the only voice in New Haven politics.

posted by: anonymous on September 11, 2013  7:11am

Grounded: Kerekes lost to DeStefano in Ward 25 in 2011. But in the 2013 primary the non-party insider candidates blew away Harp by about 700 to 300 so the question is whether this is more like 1,200 to 400 in the general or if Harp, not Elicker, picks up most of the Fernandez and Carolina voters.

posted by: UBHolden on September 11, 2013  7:31am

Where’s Xavier?  I was looking forward to my morning lauygh with my coffee!

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 11, 2013  7:41am

I am extremely glad Justin is staying in the race.

Elicker was in the race before DeStefano dropped out, way before Toni Harp was called in by Bob Proto and other union/Democratic party leaders to be their standard bearer.

Toni Harp isn’t the face of the Democratic Party as a collection of voters who espouse traditionally Democratic ideals..she is the figurehead for the Democratic Party establishment that has taken on a twisted life of it’s own in the shape of organized labor, fighting as much if not more to keep itself in power as it does to promote those same ideals.

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 11, 2013  7:47am

Well at least Ella Wood can run again in two more years and…oh, wait.

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on September 11, 2013  8:42am

Congratulations to Senator Harp!  She did score a decisive win and she will be at 50% after the absentee ballots are counted.

Justin is a sore loser.  If you don’t believe the democratic party is representative of the City and are trying to be the outside who changes it, don’t run as a democrat.  He ran as a democrat, used Democracy Fund money to get his name out, and is now running as an independent (which he planned to do all along) and has essentially given the democratic party the finger.  That’s pretty much my definition of a sore loser.

It is mathematically feasible that he could win but he won’t.  Senator Harp will receive 60% of the vote or more.  Mr. Elicker will run a good campaign but will ultimately lose because he does not have the experience to be mayor and people have begun to see that.

If this race proved one thing, it is that money does not matter and character does.  Mr. Fernandez outraised Mr. Elicker but he lost because some people liked his personality more.  His campaign, while a sisyphean task, has proved that a well organized campaign with grass roots support can trump money.  Fortunately, so did Senator Harp’s.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on September 11, 2013  8:46am

In middle school civics we learned that our country has a democratic republic form of govt: representatives are elected by citizens (the “democratic” part) and those elected representatives make the actual govt-related decisions: vote on legislation, pass budgets, etc. (the “republic” part).  According to the 2010 US Census, New Haven has a population of 129,779 people. Harp won the primary with 6,823 votes: 5% of New Haven’s population. If Harp wins the general election via a similar percentage of the population, we finally should concede that New Haven is a republic—not a democratic republic.

posted by: Righteous Cyclist on September 11, 2013  8:53am

Yes! Praise God! I have so much pride in my heart right now!

What did I say? I told you non believers that Toni couldn’t lose in the four way race! Don’t you see that more people voted against her than for her, but she won anyway. We are unstopable all the way to city hall!

And mark Toni’s words. Everyone will get their due. We’ll remember who was on board, and which wards voted against her. See how many sidewalks East Rock gets next year!

But I’m gonna keep it positive. It’s one love, Toni Harp is Mayor now, and we’re gonna celebrate!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 11, 2013  9:17am

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on September 11, 2013 8:42am

Justin is a sore loser.  If you don’t believe the democratic party is representative of the City and are trying to be the outside who changes it, don’t run as a democrat.  He ran as a democrat, used Democracy Fund money to get his name out, and is now running as an independent (which he planned to do all along) and has essentially given the democratic party the finger.  That’s pretty much my definition of a sore loser.

How about the Finger that both of the Democratic and Republican Party has give the Independents And Unaffiliated party voters who are not allowed to vote in the primaries.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 11, 2013  9:24am

Voting As Political Narcotic
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
America’s political system is a large and complex criminal conspiracy. Most voters enable it without benefiting from it. Voting is a ploy of the two-party power elites to keep the population docile, delusional and duped. Our government has been hijacked in plain sight, despite elections. We cannot get it back by voting. All the main candidates are part of the conspiracy. Voting only encourages them. In our fake democracy corrupt politicians use doses of voting as a political narcotic. We must free more Americans of the addiction. Otherwise they will keep hallucinating that some Democratic or Republican will actually give us the changes we crave for.Attempts to hold the government accountable have failed and will continue to fail. The system is rotten to the core. It sustains itself both by preventing major political reforms and undermining those that get passed to temporarily placate the public. Arrogant power elites feel no obligation to be accountable to the public. Elections are not a threat to the status quo. Elections are distractive entertainment, a political narcotic.

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 11, 2013  9:25am

If this election proved one thing, it is that MONEY matters more than anything else.

If Toni Harp had run as a Democracy Fund candidate, she would have lost resoundingly last night.  Only gobs and gobs of cash from special interest groups allowed her to muster the kind of GOTV army that her handlers have mobilized in this campaign.

A New Haven governed by Mayor Toni Harp will be a New Haven controlled by suburban interest groups, not city residents.

posted by: jimjoebob on September 11, 2013  9:31am

I have to agree that Elicker’s chances in November are almost unmeasurably small. I don’t see how he can make a compelling argument to New Haven’s non-white majority that they will be better off under his leadership than under Harp’s. Lacking such an argument, he simply cannot win.

The only strategy that I can see working would be something like moving his campaign headquarters to be across the street from hers in Dixwell, and working aggressively to tear down her reputation and to argue that the poorest, most under-employed and stressed neighborhoods will improve under his watch, but continue to stagnate under Harp’s. But I really can’t see him doing that; he’s not that kind of politician. He’s a good-government, anti-corruption, let’s-be-smart-and-reasonable kind of politician, not a gut-puncher or an inspirer. And so he will lose nobly, by a very large margin.

And that’s too bad, because if the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing while expecting different results, then electing Harp is insane. I’m not sure how effective Elicker would be as mayor, but at least he wouldn’t be more of the same.

posted by: InformedOpinion123 on September 11, 2013  9:44am

“Under my leadership, everyone will get their due.” Indeed they will because she is going to owe everyone. Her entire term will be spent paying back individuals, unions, corporations with favors. And what will happen to the city in the meantime?

This is a sad day in politics for our Elm City.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on September 11, 2013  10:05am

Voter turnout was abysmally low, which will hopefully not be the case in the general election.

Elicker’s performance was a bit discouraging.

Harp has a near limitless war chest of funding - coming from West Hartford, New Haven’s suburbs, and Unions in DC - that she can use immediately, while Elicker will have to restart from scratch, which will be difficult considering 75% of his money comes from inside New Haven and in small amounts and it may be difficult to get the same people to donate twice.

I can’t see Carolina’s supporters voting for Harp considering Kermit’s campaign, but they may just decide not to vote rather than support Elicker. It’s not clear that Fernandez’s supporters would go for Elicker either.

Unaffiliated voters like myself, independents and republicans would probably vote for Elicker, but if their turnout is anything like the Democratic turnout in this primary, its not a guaranteed win for Elicker.

Using the Democracy Fund for the primary and then continuing to run in the general makes strategic sense because it gives the candidate access and exposure during the campaign, and the Democratic Primary gets rid of other candidates that would have otherwise split the vote had they all only run in the General Election, but it does present a bit of a moral dilemma upon consideration - though that may have more to do with the way the law is currently written, rather than any lack of character in the candidate.

I could envision a scenario where I would vote for Toni Harp - if there was a viable Republican candidate running in the general with whom I vehemently disagreed with on policy and governance and I was worried that they had a chance of getting elected in New Haven I would vote for Toni over Justin even though I feel Justin is the better candidate. It’s the same reason why I voted for Obama even though I supported and was most agreeable to Jill Stein. But no such Republican candidate exists, so my vote is going to Elicker.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 11, 2013  10:05am


So is everyone in East Rock a racist or just those who voted for Elicker? Or are you only racist if you didn’t vote for your preferred candidate? This has been a recurring theme for months, “Why should you vote for Toni? Well I can’t tell you that, but I do know people who aren’t voting for her are probably secretly sexist or racist.”. People like to bash East Rock as some kind of nebulous elites(I guess my friend sharing rent with 2 other people will be glad to know her 12/hr job is now elite) yet both now and in 2011 when the 2 East Rock wards along with Wooster Square were the only wards to vote against King Desteffano. Also, 80% of us who voted for him don’t live in East Rock.(going by the results page)

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on September 11, 2013  10:13am

To the Fernandez and Carolina campaigns, you have both ushered in a level of excitement that gave a segment of voters in New Haven a comforting choice.

I know through experience that the hardest thing for any candidate to do is accept defeat.  Politics is extremely humbling. That said, I personally thank you both for the desire to just say, “I’ll do it.”

As you both have wisely decided to bow out gracefully, you’re now faced with a clear choice in whom to support.  You can either stay loyal to the Democratic Party and encourage your supporters to do the same, or you can support a candidate that walks around in his pocket with 75 experimental ideas and a GPS.  It’s your choice.

The Democratic voters of this city have spoken loud and clear.  We now gear up for the next phase of the campaign as we appeal to all voters to do the same on November 5th.

Toni Harp is and has run a “big tent” campaign.  Republicans and Independents alike are welcome to join the Democrats to help Toni craft an agenda that’s beneficial for all people citywide.

This unity cannot be done unless we put the needs of the city above political party.  New Haven, more than any other city in the state is run by relationships.  That is clearly the reason why Toni focuses on the importance of people and not the importance of political party.

What was not revealed, fully (to my satisfaction) in this campaign was Toni’s full body of work.  If presented in it’s fullness, voters will be surprised to know just how passionate Toni has been to the most vulnerable of our society.  This is a most extraordinary woman in many ways. 

I would hope, that the NHI would highlight the shovel of gold that Toni has given to others, instead of highlighting the shovel of dirt that others have given to her.

The Elicker Experiment’s East Rock Machine, can no longer hide behind the veil of the Democracy Fund.  But they will with cunning attempts, try and hide behind the veil of obfuscation.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 11, 2013  10:13am

A whole lot of people keep saying or insinuating “Elicker can’t win, white dude isn’t going to pick up the non white votes.”(which is in odd juxtaposition to the ‘East Rock is racist and is obviously going to vote for a white dude’ comments)which aside from being kind of racist in itself, is really weird given the fact last time I checked, John DeSteffano had been mayor for 20 years despite the city being only 31% non Hispanic white, and that guy is definitely white. It’s almost like entire demographics be they racial or geographical aren’t some homogenous lockstep entity.

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on September 11, 2013  10:33am

Senator Harp and Mr. Fernandez raised pretty close to the same amount of money.  Mr. Fernandez received less than 20% of the votes.  Mr. Elicker raised less money than Mr. Fernandez and received more votes.  You can’t actually look at the actual numbers of this race and find a direct correlation to financing and winning.  It is simply impossible. 

This plays out time and again, look at Linda McMahon, who raised and spent nearly 5x as much as Senator Murphy.  I don’t mind people making arguments but I do mind that people never bother to check whether their arguments hold water.  In this case, they do not and that has been shown time and again. 

I’m not sorry that your candidate lost.  It is appalling that you can’t/don’t give other New Haven residents their fair due in finding that they could have honestly disagreed with you about who the best candidate is.  Unfortunately, your world view is not the only correct one and on certain issues it is not even on empirically sound footing.

posted by: frog on September 11, 2013  11:11am

Hey Atlas Shrugged,
Why aren’t you also criticizing the union-backed candidates - Maureen Gardner and Ella Wood - who also registered to be eligible as both Democrats and Independent candidates?

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on September 11, 2013  11:51am

Neither Miss Wood nor Miss Gardner have cemented their decision to run.  If they decide to run, I am against it.  I noted immediately upon Ms. Wood’s entry into the race that she faced long odds because she moved and would’ve called it that day for Mr. Hausladen. 

I would absolutely agree that they should not run as independents.

posted by: grounded on September 11, 2013  11:59am

A couple of responses:

Anonymous says: “Kerekes lost to DeStefano in Ward 25 in 2011. But in the 2013 primary the non-party insider candidates blew away Harp by about 700 to 300 so the question is whether this is more like 1,200 to 400 in the general or if Harp, not Elicker, picks up most of the Fernandez and Carolina voters.”

Dude, if Elicker wants to be the mayor of Ward 25, more power to him.  But I know for damn sure that the ~ 4% of people who voted for him in wards in the Hill aren’t going to put him in a position to be mayor of the City.

@UBHolden:  Totally.  Let’s hope Fernandez runs again in two years just so that Xavier makes a reappearance.  I’m going to miss that guy.

@LuvNewHaven: Let’s just hope that she goes to law school or does Teach for America or whatever it is Yalies do these days somewhere other than New Haven!!  But you’re wrong on the Democracy Fund.  Harp had the name recognition and a huge volunteer base.  She would have won even if she had participated, which makes her failure to participate even more disappointing.  I really wish that she had participated and channeled all of the outsider money into a PAC that could have funded pro-urban-interest candidates statewide.  That would have been good for exercising her political muscle AND good for New Haven.

@Christopher Schaefer: 28% voter turn out is about what one would expect in a non-presidential primary in an urban area.  Look at NYC’s turnout yesterday.  Does low voter turn-out make our democracy a less legitimate democracy.  Yes, yes it does.  Does it make yesterday’s results less legitimate.  No, no it does not.  Particularly since your guy wanted low voter turn-out anyway.  He needed East Rock, Westville and the East Shore to have dramatically higher voter turn-out than the rest of the City and, because those places always turn out, that happens when voter turn-out is depressed citywide.  Higher turn-out would have resulted in an even more decisive Harp win.

posted by: jimjoebob on September 11, 2013  12:01pm

@TheMadcap: “John DeSteffano had been mayor for 20 years despite the city being only 31% non Hispanic white ...”

What happened when he first ran for mayor in ‘89? He was defeated by John Daniels. Only after Daniels retired was DeStefano able to win. And back then, the non-Hispanic White percentage was more like 50%.

No ethnic group votes in lockstep, but they do (quite rationally, IMO) vote for their own best interests. In *this* election, against a highly credible (on paper, at least), experienced, well-funded, and fully-endorsed African-American candidate, any non-white candidate has a steep hill to climb—particularly one like Elicker who has not made inequality and addressing the needs of New Haven’s most-struggling neighborhoods central themes of his campaign.

Elicker will certainly win a modest percentage of voters of color—chiefly, those who strongly disapprove of Harp’s well-documented negatives, and those who have concluded that her administration won’t be substantially different from DeStefano’s. But that modest percentage isn’t going to get him to 50%, even if he can get most Republicans and independents to pull the lever for him as well. The numbers that Elicker cited in his speech last night just don’t add up for him.

posted by: grounded on September 11, 2013  12:04pm

More responses:

@Madcap: Two decades ago DeStefano built a racially diverse coalition that included a soon-to-be former city clerk and a former, thank the lord, schools superintendent.  Elicker is above coalition-building (oh, sorry, I meant “deal-making”) so his vote count is always going to max out around 25% (I thought he’s do closer to 30 yesterday) in a citywide race.

@frog: Atlas Shrugged won’t give you a straight answer but I will: Wood, Gardner and, yes, Elicker, should all acknowledge defeat and not waste their supporters’ time and their donors’ money.

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 11, 2013  12:06pm

Brian Jenkins really put it in perspective for me.  He’s completely right that we have to “put the needs of the city above political party”.

That’s why I will be voting for the candidate with the 75 experimental ideas come the general election, over the candidate with the “big tent” full of the same old tired ideas and suburban backers.

posted by: William Kurtz on September 11, 2013  12:58pm

Brian Jenkins wrote,

you’re now faced with a clear choice in whom to support.  You can either stay loyal to the Democratic Party and encourage your supporters to do the same, or you can support a candidate that walks around in his pocket with 75 experimental ideas and a GPS. . . .

This unity cannot be done unless we put the needs of the city above political party.  New Haven, more than any other city in the state is run by relationships.  That is clearly the reason why Toni focuses on the <>importance of people and not the importance of political party.</b>

Which is it?

posted by: grounded on September 11, 2013  1:04pm

@Atlas Shrugged:  Thanks for the consistent opinion on Elicker/Wood/Gardner.  I underestimated you.  My apologies.  Won’t happen again.

posted by: jim1 on September 11, 2013  1:09pm

Good job Mike You will get our vote in Nov.
J. D. & W. H.//
If Conn. has a law that you don’t have to have a ID to vote why was I turned away??  Every one in the polling place new who I was.??
And don’t tell me “that is the way it is”.

posted by: robn on September 11, 2013  1:10pm

The numbers are compelling for a very strong Elicker challenge in the general election.

If one splits the Carolina/Fernandez vote between Harp and Elicker, Elicker needs only about 25% of registered independents on his side and its back to 50-50.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on September 11, 2013  1:17pm

I would hope that the NHI would hold the Elicker Experiment accountable to his claim of clean campaigning, as they did in holding the Harp campaign to it’s donor prowess.

What I enjoyed most of all while being in New hallville canvassing yesterday, was talking to a young black man that had a “I Voted” sticker affixed to his chest.  This young brother wore the sticker as if it were a badge of honor. He had shared with me that he was a Carolina supporter. 

Although I have made it clear from the beginning, that I was opposed to the Carolina campaign. 

Like a basketball coach that Kermit is, on his team there are starters and there are those who sit the bench.  The starters earned their right to start because of their ability and knowledge of the game.  Those that sit the bench are there because of their inability to grasp the concept or are in need of much more experience.  Kermit has showed that he did not deserve the right to start and the voters agreed.  However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say how impressed I was with the Carolina campaign for the number of young people working at the polling places in Newhallville.

As I reflected on the visual, I came away with the feeling of, how unfortunate it is that so many young black men are removed from the opportunity to vote because of being tethered, to the penal system.  Conversely, it was very refreshing to see so many young black men that weren’t.

I have always held a closely a tremendous affinity towards young people. Having said that, It is my hope and prayer that our church community and others, can begin to reward those young people that are doing well and striving to do better.

We must accentuate the positives in our young people and help build them to be better individuals.  If we can’t do that, then we must refrain from tearing them down.

Young people are searching for genuine leadership.  So if you have that, you have them.

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on September 11, 2013  2:00pm

For those reading this far into the comments, I’d like to just quote one of Mr. Elicker’s biggest financial and personal supporters:

“Stratton said . . .: ‘We’re all Democrats. We should abide by the party decision. It would be a waste of a lot of human effort and time to go through this again.’”

See http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/ward_7_ward_19_races/

Hey, if it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.


posted by: Razzie on September 11, 2013  2:09pm

@ Grounded

I strongly agree with your analysis on the Elicker supporters best way (most noble way) forward. In the primary, the Elicker Elites choose to convert the contest into a “Haters’ Ball” with their unrelenting attacks on Sen Harp’s family, character, intelligence, appearance, finances and anything else they could conjure up with a compelling sound bite. Truth clearly took a backseat in their campaign strategy. 

They are now poised to trade their tickets in for the “Sore Loser’s Ball” hoping to get their second bite of the apple and hoping to convince New Haven voters that they really are not establishment Democrats, even tho they took public money on that express premise. Lieberman did it and won. So what the heck,...why not Elicker??!!

That’s their choice, and they are entitled to do so. But they are not entitled to cloak themselves in the mantle of supposed “clean elections”. That contest is over and done. This time out, it is simply Elicker, the man from New Canaan and son of a Wall Street banker, who purports to take on the “establishment”. It is also instructive to me, personally, that the preponderance of Elicker’s NHI commenters are male, and reject the notion that female representation in City Hall leadership has any redeeming social value.

posted by: ramonesfan on September 11, 2013  2:34pm

@ TheMadcap @LuvNewHaven @jimjoebob @robn :
Thanks for your comments, they are on the money, well thought out, and informative

50% - 23% is a large gap to close, but if Kerekes got 45% in 2011, then maybe there is some chance real change can come to City Hall.  Many who voted for Harp on Sept. 10 probably think the election is over.

I hope a big percentage of those 18,000 independents will show up in November.  In general, they’re probably disgusted with the DeStefano administration.  I can’t believe that the majority of ‘em would prefer Harp to Elicker.

posted by: jimjoebob on September 11, 2013  2:37pm

@Razzie: Wow, so Elicker supporters are “haters”, “sore losers”, and apparently also hypocrites and misogynists? I’m no great fan of his effort, but those are some pretty wild accusations.

More relevant than this kind of nastiness is the central question of how Elicker is going to convince African-American voters that they’d somehow be better off voting for him, as reflected in the most recent article on this site: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/can_elicker_get_black_votes/

posted by: robn on September 11, 2013  2:45pm


The answer is pretty simple. If you’re an AA in New Haven and every month you pay your rent/taxes or your mortgage/taxes, ask yourself why does one candidate also do that (Elicker), but another candidate doesn’t (Harp).

posted by: jimjoebob on September 11, 2013  3:13pm

@robn: I imagine that Elicker can peel off some votes with that argument, but I doubt it will add up to enough to overcome the idea that Harp will do more for New Haven’s non-white neighborhoods than Elicker will.

Personally, I’m not convinced that either candidate will really make a substantial difference to Black New Haven’s problems of inequality/crime/education/poverty/unemployment/segregation/etc., which saddens me.

posted by: Hieronymous on September 11, 2013  3:47pm

I keep going back and forth about Justin’s chances. It was heartening to go back and read some of the coverage of the 2011 primary and see that Kerekes was in even more dire straits (I mean, he gave the same this-isn’t-over speech, but to 12 white people instead of 100). I couldn’t determine what percentage/number of Independents voted for Kerekes in November, but he clearly made huge gains between the primary and general, and did so with very little money.

On the other hand, unlike Kerekes, Justin has already given a full effort to the primary and come up with less than 25%. And he’s not facing DeStefano in November. So I’m still skeptical that Justin can make an impact without doing two things he’s not going to do: (1) go negative; (2) break the small-money promise (whether by accepting $1000 donations, or having some friends from an “independent” PAC). Regrettably, those of us who would like integrity in government are cursed with a candidate who has integrity.

Overall, I basically can’t disagree with anything “grounded” has said (which, for the record, is nothing like what razzie says “grounded” said), but I think this is still worth a shot. He’s got to redouble his efforts on four fronts: (1) hold and energize the Westville/East Rock base; (2) get Independents on board; (3) convince Yale students to register in NH and vote Elicker; (4) break through to Black/Hispanic voters in poorer neighborhoods. On this last (but definitely not least) front, he’s got to re-market himself. Thus far, the pitch for these voters seems to have been that if we make NH better for everybody then, well, it will be better for you, too. That’s clearly not enough. He’s going to need some help on this front (Carolina, Michael Jefferson, ??) and it will be interesting to see whether he can make inroads in these neighborhoods without overt quid pro quos.

posted by: Dee Rien on September 11, 2013  3:58pm

jim1, if you were really turned away without being allowed to vote, that was absolutely wrong. What ward were you voting in? Because those poll workers need to be re-trained (or fired). If you do not have an ID (and anything will do—a utility bill, check, pay stub with your name and address on it will do), you will have to vote on a provisional ballot. After the polls close, once it is confirmed that you are a registered voter (i.e., check the registered voter list), and that you didn’t already vote with an ID (i.e., your name wasn’t crossed off by the poll workers), your provisional ballot will be counted.

But really, it’s easier to just bring a utility bill. ;-)

posted by: accountability on September 11, 2013  4:22pm

XT: You posted this comment:

“This election evaporated any support I have for our local unions and makes me sad that political gaming and retribution has been their strategy instead of working together to make the city’s budget and democratic system more sustainable and truly progressive.”

I’m genuinely tired of this kind of attack, but I want to hear you answer a few questions.

1. What do you mean by “truly progressive?” How do you define “progressive?”

2. Against whom have which unions taken “retribution?” Do you mean that candidates who support Yale’s unions challenged Hausladen and Michael Stratton, an incumbent and very wealthy lawyer who held a series of public events at which they accused those institutions of corrupting City government for their own personal enrichment and of violating basic democratic principles? That doesn’t seem much like “retribution” to me, it seems like not just taking it when someone punches you in the face. Do you have other examples of “retribution” over the past 2 years?

posted by: accountability on September 11, 2013  4:27pm

LMAO Hieronymous:  “So I’m still skeptical that Justin can make an impact without doing two things he’s not going to do: (1) go negative…”

Please send us a weather report from Mars. On what planet has Justin’s campaign not gone negative? Since when is accusing the majority of your colleagues of corruption and abusing the democratic process for personal gain not “going negative?”

posted by: Hieronymous on September 11, 2013  5:09pm

“Since when is accusing the majority of your colleagues of corruption and abusing the democratic process for personal gain not “going negative?”—accountability

I’m having difficultly responding to the question inasmuch as neither of those things ever happened.

posted by: Razzie on September 11, 2013  6:11pm

@ Hieronymous—“...He’s going to need some help on this front (Carolina, Michael Jefferson, ??)”

It’s been no secret that Carolina has actively promoted and assisted Elicker’s campaign by leading the attack on Sen Harp. Seemingly, his only opponent in this 4-man race has been Sen Harp. So Elicker has already greatly benefited from Carolina’s antics. And, frankly, I haven’t noticed any aversion to negative campaigning on the part of Elicker or his NHI supporters. The overall nasty tone of this election was established at the outset by Sen Harp’s opponents, not by her supporters. Hopefully the tone will improve as we move forward.

posted by: accountability on September 11, 2013  6:26pm


Happens every single day here in the most personally venomous terms imaginable. Justin wrinkles his brow and expresses genteel “concern” about “unaccountable” decisions made “behind closed doors,” and the tendency to “block voting” and lack of “debate” and discourse. He tells the public that HE’s not captive of special interests.

Then his surrogates spew poison by the barrelful. It’s a sleazy way to run a campaign.

posted by: robn on September 11, 2013  8:56pm


Nice try but it doesn’t actually matter wher facts come from. Facts like..,
1) Sen Harp received 80 % of her financial support from people outside of New Haven, many who have financial interests in the city. (Boss Proto)
2) Sen Harp has shown blatant disregard for gambling addicts with her Keno support.
3) Sen Harp continues to live tax free and rent free courtesy of her late husbands estate which is still the state biggest tax evader.
4) Sen Harp touts her bringing home the bacon yet PILOT funding has been perpetually funded UNDER statute, costing renters and property owners millions.

posted by: Eddie on September 11, 2013  10:11pm


I appreciate your list regarding the negativity of Justin.  My favorite is his constant call for more “independent-minded” BOA candidates (e.g. http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/ward_19/).  I see the board full of independent-minded alders.  Is he claiming that incumbents such as Delphine, Tyisha, Jessica, Brenda, Sarah, etc… are not independent-minded?  Why on earth would anyone, much less a mayoral candidate, dismiss people in such a dehumanizing way?  They are individuals who are working tirelessly to stand up and fight for their communities.  They are exceptional leaders who are trying to best realize their positive vision for New Haven.  To imply that these women do not have minds of their own denigrates their hard work and accomplishments.  This devalues their life experiences and the conclusions they have reached.  It is also just horribly destructive to community building in New Haven.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 12, 2013  3:06am


Since PILOT gets historically underfunded per the statute, is there a precedent for a class action suit?

posted by: westville man on September 12, 2013  8:58am

After licking my wounds and catching up on some work, I write in my post-campaign haze.
First, to Atticus, Razzie, Jenkins and a few others w whom I sparred regularly- congratulations on Harp’s victory. Clear and convincing.  I did not agree with many of your over-the-top critiques of Kerm (esp BLJ), but I cannot argue with the results.
Team Carolina knew from day 1 that we needed our base to vote.  25% turnout, and many of them going to Harp, means we never solved that problem. Such is politics, I know, but the results were surprising to us to say the least.
I should stick to weather forcasting, as I can predict that better than voting results.
Elicker has a very SLIM chance to win in the general. I’m glad he stayed in so this democrat has a choice in November. I understand all the arguments but on the balance democracy is better served in a city like this if there is a choice.
And Elicker will be mine. 
Congrats again to Sen Harp and to all of the campaigns and their workers for tireless efforts.

posted by: robn on September 12, 2013  9:11am


There’s a set statutory amount for reimbursement and somehow the legislature underfunds it. I really don’t know why but I imagine there’s some sort of horse trading every year to avoid the A-Bomb of a lawsuit against the state.

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 12, 2013  10:59am


Lawsuits have been brought not only to force PILOT payments, but to also strip major universities or their business arms of their tax-exempt status.

I wonder why, when we have lawyers in town who were willing to spend time and effort on fighting the removal of “Occupy New Haven” from the town Green, none of them are willing to tilt at this particular windmill and make a run at starting up a class-action suit?  Get everyone in New Haven to sign on and take a run at Yale…Irv Pinsky et. al, where are you?!




posted by: westville man on September 12, 2013  11:13am

BS-  My recollection was that the percentages for PILOT were “advisory”, not mandatory.

posted by: Razzie on September 12, 2013  2:21pm

@ Westville Man

I appreciate your gracious words, and can certainly respect your choice(s) for Mayor. Any disagreements we have had, in my view, stem from the way in which Kerm allowed himself to be used by Elicker as the stalking horse against Sen Harp. Everybody has the right to run for public office. But to only run as a way to siphon votes from another candidate rubs me the wrong way.

The voters have spoken on Kerm’s foray into the political arena. The general election is now positioned as it should be—two experienced politicians with impressive political and community support vying for office in November. In my view the choice is clear, experience trumps loose promises that things will magically get better. Which candidate best reflects the face of new New Haven? That is the choice to be made.

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 12, 2013  5:04pm

Westville Man, sorry to hear that.  It hurts a bit when this happens.  For what it’s worth, I don’t think your candidate was running as a spoiler, or had been “hoodwinked” or “used”.  I liked his campaign, and I am sorry to see it end, but I am sure he will still be an important voice in this city.

posted by: FrontStreet on September 12, 2013  5:09pm

“Which candidate best reflects the face of New Haven?”  asks Razzie.

Let’s take a quick sample of donors to Harp’s campaign.

Jamesina Henderson, recent transplant to New Haven from California, who in 2 short years as CEO brought near ruin to the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, with the termination of over 100 positions by the time she was ignominiously terminated herself (http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/hill_health_head_resigns/)

Sal Brancati, the godfather of pay-to-play in New Haven.  The man whose money is so dirty even DeStefano wouldn’t take it (http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2001/09/24/destefano-returns-money-from-questionable-donors/)

This is the face of New Haven, eh?  Well, sadly, it has been, in city hall and among the elite of New Haven governance, for many many years.  Which might explain some of the bizarre dysfunction and surreal dynamics of New Haven politics and economics.

posted by: Eddie on September 13, 2013  12:56am


I appreciate that you often offer analysis that seems sincere and is not overly negative. 

But in a recent comment you wrote,  “it will be interesting to see whether he can make inroads in these neighborhoods without overt quid pro quos.” 

I understand that some comments are written in haste, but this statement is jarring.  Does it imply that unlike the “Westville/East Rock base”, these neighborhoods desire a form of politics that is below Justin’s ethics?  Does it imply that is Justin performed so poorly in some wards because he is too ethical?  Does it imply that some neighborhoods want make “NH better for everybody”, while selfishness pervades in others? 

Elected leaders are winning many votes in every ward in the city.  The NHI just wrote an excellent article that describes how Delphine, Latoya, and other neighborhood leaders have achieved this in ward 20.  Their progress depends upon consistent work that inspires others with a positive vision of broadly shared goals.  It is ultimately a project that is the antithesis of quid pro quo. Latoya clearly articulates this, “I’m a volunteer… This is from my heart.”

Justin simply has not undertaken this work outside of his base.  Without building an organization of leaders working across the city he cannot undertake this work in a serious manner.  After all, he is one person and his time is scarce.  Even if he wins the support of Kermit, who is a sincere leader, this is one person late in the game in a sea of individuals. 

So perhaps a more generous interpretation of your statement rests on this insight.  Without the cooperation of sincere leaders in many neighborhoods, Justin could try to make cheap deals with anyone who will take them.  The problem of course is that those who would take such a deals, would not be inspiring leaders who can win elections.  Their motivation would reside in political apathy, leaving them ill-suited to fill the voids that punctuate his primary results.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson on September 13, 2013  11:06am

We will get what we deserve.


posted by: Hieronymous on September 13, 2013  11:23am

Hey Eddie. I think you ultimately came around the point I was trying to make. It’s not that the residents of these neighborhoods, themselves, prefer base politics. But, for reasons good and bad, valid and invalid, a lot of folks in these neighborhoods are not likely to support Justin unless someone vouches for him. (And, sure, many won’t support him even then, because they will sincerely believe Toni is the better candidate. But it would be naive not to recognize that Justin starts at a disadvantage that has nothing to do with qualifications.) John DeStefano didn’t build up support in these neighborhoods by engaging in “consistent work that inspires others with a positive vision of broadly shared goals.” He forged an unsavory alliance with Boise Kimber. That is a form of politics that is “beneath Justin’s ethics,” as you say. But that is not to say that it is favored by the actual residents of these neighborhoods, as opposed to the politicians and community leaders who benefit from it at their expense.

I fully agree with you that the type of hard work described in MB’s article on Ward 20 is another, preferable, way to break through. But I don’t think experience has shown that it’s the only way and a lesser candidate might be tempted to make the “cheap deals.” Justin’s not going to do that; he’s going to take the Latoya route. Which is why he probably won’t win.

I’m not sure this comment will go through, as my last several have not. Ironically, my last comment was an announcement that I’m done commenting here. (The announcement was meant as a commitment, to keep myself in check, not because anyone would or should care.) Since it wasn’t published, and since you posed an important question, I’ve broken my promise. But now, I’m signing off. The comment board is great, but I don’t add enough to it to make up for amount of time I waste here. Carry on, everyone.