Unions “Kick Ass” In Primaries

Neena Satija PhotoThomas MacMillan Photo(Updated 11:36 p.m.) Labor-backed candidates toppled incumbents and other City Hall supporters in aldermanic primaries across town Tuesday night, delivering a powerful “change” message.

“The unions kicked ass tonight,” said Mayor John DeStefano, who cruised to victory in his own primary against three Democratic challengers as he seeks a 10th two-year term.
Allan Appel Photo

DeStefano won all but three or four of the city’s 30 wards (depending on absentee ballot counts), although he failed to crack 50 percent of the vote. He got roughly 43 percent on the voting machines.

Unions, meanwhile, captured 14 out of 15 races in which their aldermanic candidates faced City Hall-based candidates, based on voting machine tallies. (One of those 14, in Westville’s 25, conceivably could change later Tuesday night once absentee ballots are counted.)

The city “voted for change and I’m glad to take that mantle up,” DeStefano told subdued supporters. “They voted for change to continue to create jobs in this city.”

Wednesday afternoon the Registrar of Voters Office released the official final vote tally including absentee ballots. It showed DeStefano winning 5,716 votes, or 44.3 percent; Jeffrey Kerekes 2,895 votes or 22.4 percent; Clifton Graves 2,255 votes or 17.5 percent; and Anthony Dawson 2,032 votes or 15.7 percent.

Kerekes said he will “absolutely” run again against DeStefano in the November general election, as an independent.

Meanwhile, candidates backed by Yale’s unions toppled incumbents and pro-City Hall candidates across the city.

The challenge slate organized by unions —UNITE HERE Local 34, Yale’s pink-collar union; and Local 35, its blue-collar union—didn’t run on a specific platform. Rather they accused the DeStefano administration of stifling democracy and paying too little attention to average taxpayers and workers, and they pushed the need for new voices and energy in city government. (DeStefano, meanwhile, ran with his own union support—the city firefighters union and the buildings trades unions.)

“I’m astonished,” UNITE HERE union organizer Gwen Mills, who oversaw the challenge slate’s get-out-the-vote effort, said at a celebration at Leon’s restaurant on Long Wharf. “I think it’s a clear indication that people wanted change. This group of candidates was a credible alternative to the status quo.”

Incumbents Fall

The biggest upset of the night was in Ward 29, in Beaver Hills, where Carl Goldfield has served as an alderman for 20 years. Goldfield is the president of the Board of Aldermen, the city’s highest-ranking legislator. Brian Wingate, a first-time candidate who beat him, was one of 15 union-backed challengers taking on City Hall supporters in Democratic Party aldermanic elections Tuesday.

In Goldfield’s Ward 29, Wingate topped Goldfield decisively based on results from the voting machines: 342-182.

The unions won most of their upsets with large enough margins on the voting-machine tallies to overcome any change from a count of absentee ballots. And Goldfield wasn’t the only incumbent on the losing end. Greg Morehead, Stephanie Bauer, Matt Smith, Charles Blango, and Marcus Paca were upset too.

(Scroll to the bottom of the story for a ward by ward breakdown of aldermanic votes.)

No Concession From Paca

Paca refused to acknowledge defeat.

A stunned Paca called his loss to Evette Hamilton in Edgewood’s Ward 24 “impossible” and said he’ll meet with a lawyer in the morning. If a recount is possible, he said he wants one.

“There is no way that [union candidate] Evette Hamilton beats me by 90 votes,” said Paca, who got 228 votes to Hamilton’s 312.

“It’s like beating me by a million votes,” he said. “We’re going to delve a little deeper into this.”

Gwyneth K. Shaw PhotoPaca said he was struck by the uncanny echo of his victory two years ago, when he beat an incumbent by the same figures.

“This is just a little too close for comfort,” he said. “Or it might just be poetic justice, who knows?”

Paca isn’t qualified to be on the ballot as an independent in November, and said he wouldn’t run as anything other than a Democrat.

Union-backed incumbents held onto their seats in Beaver Hills’ Ward 38 (Claudette Robinson-Thorpe) and City Point’s Ward 6 (Dolores Colon).

An incumbent affiliated with neither citywide slate in Tuesday’s contests—administration critic Darnell Goldson—lost to a City Hall-backed challenger, Carlton Staggers in Ward 30, which covers West Hills and West Rock. The machine vote: 204-145. Goldson has an independent slot on the November ballot, so he could choose to force a rematch.

“I kicked his ass! I served him!” crowed Honda Smith, the ward’s Democratic co-chair, who switched sides to oppose Goldson in this election. “He ain’t going to beat me. ... I had to serve him. I had to spank his ass.”

And a City Hall-backed newcomer prevailed in Morris Cove’s Ward 18. The winner, Sal DeCola, claimed that ward committee members abandoned him in the race, but he won anyway. “Now they will have to deal with me,” he proclaimed.” The union candidate, Sarah Saiano, appeared stunned by the loss; she said she was unsure if she will run again as an independent in November.

DeStefano Praises “Muscle”

DeStefano claimed victory at his campaign party at Bar on Crown Street. He also praised the hard campaign work done by Yale-affiliated unions in electing challengers to his slate.

“They have a lot of muscle,” he said. He suggested that voters “appreciate the direct contact they got from those candidates. They have a voice and need to be respected.”

He was asked what will be different in the coming two years now that so many union-backed challengers will sit on the Board of Aldermen.

“I really don’t know,” he responded. “It’s only 8:30.”

He calculated his preliminary vote at 44.5 percent. He called that “great” given an anti-incumbent year in which “change is a powerful message.” (The Independent’s unofficial machine tally gave him 41.9 percent.)

Mayoral challenger Jeffrey Kerekes defeated Mayor John DeStefano in both of the East Rock Wards, 9 and 10: 318-282 and 196-162, respectively. Again, that’s the machine tally; DeStefano is believed to have a stronger absentee ballot operation. He also beat DeStefano in Wooster Square’s Ward 8 based on the machine tally. And challenger Tony Dawson won the machine vote in the Hill’s Ward 4 against DeStefano, 75 to 55; and in Newhallville’s Ward 21,192-146.

DeStefano won the rest of the wards.

Kerekes said he will “absolutely” run again against DeStefano in the November general election, as an independent.

Clifton Graves told supporters assembled at his Whalley Avenue headquarters that it was significant that the race’s two African-American candidates—he and Dawson—failed to get enough votes between them to top DeStefano’s total.

“That shows there’s more work to do—there are still folks with a slave mentality. They had options and didn’t take advantage,” Graves said.

He added that the vote totals did show that a majority of New Haven Democrats said, “‘We don’t want DeStefano. Enough of this direction for 18 years.”

Over at his own post-election gathering at the Greek Olive, Dawson said he doesn’t know whether he’ll support DeStefano or Kerekes in the general election in November. “We’ve got to see who’s going to be closer to solving those problems,” he said.

Newhallville Turns

In East Rock’s Ward 9, union-backed candidate Jessica Holmes beat incumbent City Hall-backed Alderman Matt Smith 438-305 on the machine vote. Absentee ballots haven’t been counted yet. Holmes reported getting 200 new voters to register in Ward 9. Her campaign invested energy in convincing transient residents, like graduate students at Yale, to take interest in municipal politics. One argument went like this: Don’t just eat local and buy local, vote local, too—by signing up to cast ballots in neighborhood elections. Smith focused on building his list from his base of voters, then converting Holmes supporters to come over to his side. Smith registered far fewer new voters, about 50 to 60, he estimated.

Another union-backed candidate, Angela Russell, decisively defeated a City Hall-backed candidate, Stan Kontogiannis, in Westville’s Ward 27, 426-123.

In Newhallville’s Ward 20, union-backed Delphine Clyburn beat incumbent City Hall-backed Alderman Charles Blango 394-271 on the machine vote.

Clyburn supporters burst into applause and cheers when her vote tally was announced at Lincoln Bassett School.

“It’s a victory for Newhallville. We are rising. We are rising. It’s a victory for Newhallville, ‘’ said a jubilant Clyburn, who was hugged by union supporters.

Remarked Blango, “The people in Newhallville have spoken and accordingly they want to go in a new direction. And I respect that new direction and I appreciate it.’’

‘’Some of the people who supported Delphine were the same people that supported me last time.  I wish her a lot of success. To get things done you got to work with other colleagues.’’

The union-backed candidates prevailed in Fair Haven Heights’ Ward 13, in the form of candidate Brenda Jones Barnes; and in Ward 22, where Jeanette Morrison topped incumbent City Hall-backed Alderman Greg Morehead on the machine vote, 355-165. (Candidate Lisa Hopkins picked up 125 machine votes in that race, Cordelia Thorpe, 4.)

Westville’s heated Ward 25 race will take longer to decide, perhaps until midnight or past. Union-backed aldermanic candidate Adam Marchand prevailed 446-422 over City Hall-backed candidate Michael Slattery 422 at the polls; however, some 50 absentee ballots remain to be counted, and Slattery’s party organization backers traditionally have had a more aggressive absentee ballot operation.

In Dwight’s Ward 2, union-backed Frank Douglass bested City Hall-backed Doug Bethea 358-172 on the machine vote. Bethea said he will run again in November’s general election as an independent. He pledged to work harder.

The Results

Following is a ward-by-ward breakdown of the aldermanic results from the machine tallies (excluding absentee ballots). A letter “U” beside a name signifies support by Yale’s unions; the letter “P” signifies support from City Hall and the Democratic Party establishment. (For full results including absentee ballot votes, click here.)

Ward 2: Douglas (U) 358, Bethea (P) 172
Ward 3: James (U) 239, Rodriguez (P) 45
Ward 6: Colon (U) 265, Rodriguez-Reyes (P) 157
Ward 9: Holmes (U) 438, Smith (P) 305
Ward 13: Barnes (U) 347, Vega (P) 154, Baker 100
Ward 14: Santiago (U) 346, Bauer (P) 154
Ward 18: DeCola (P) 342, Saiano (U) 238
Ward 20: Clyburne (U) 394, Blango (P) 271
Ward 21: Foskey-Cyrus (U) 345, Nelson 155
Ward 22: Morrison (U) 355, Morehead (P) 165, Hopkins 125, Thorpe 4
Ward 24: Hamilton (U) 312, Paca (P) 228
Ward 25: Marchand (U) 446, Slattery (P) 422
Ward 27: Russell 426 (U), Kontogiannis (P) 123
Ward 28: Robinson-Thorpe (U) 377, McCloud (P) 127
Ward 29: Wingate (U) 342, Goldfield (P) 182
Ward 30: Staggers (P) 204, Goldson 145.

Following is the ward-by-ward breakdown of the mayoral election results from the voting-machine tallies (excluding absentee ballots).

Ward 1: DeStefano 28, Dawson 1, Graves 13, Kerekes 6
Ward 2: DeStefano 177, Dawson 118, Graves 119, Kerekes 95
Ward 3: DeStefano 115, Dawson 92, Graves 45, Kerekes 22
Ward 4: DeStefano 55, Dawson 75, Graves 44, Kerekes 9
Ward 5: DeStefano 66, Dawson 43, Graves 42, Kerekes 13
Ward 6: DeStefano 213, Dawson 63, Graves 74, Kerekes 47
Ward 7: DeStefano 90, Dawson 21, Graves 24, Kerekes 41
Ward 8: DeStefano 121, Dawson 22, Graves 24, Kerekes 167
Ward 9: DeStefano 282, Dawson 41, Graves 42, Kerekes 318
Ward 10: DeStefano 169, Dawson 11, Graves 18, Kerekes 196
Ward 11: DeStefano 204, Dawson 62, Graves 83, Kerekes 93
Ward 12: DeStefano 70, Dawson 52, Graves 24, Kerekes 49
Ward 13: DeStefano 275, Dawson 71, Graves 85, Kerekes 134
Ward 14: DeStefano 258, Dawson 52, Graves 55, Kerekes 115
Ward 15: DeStefano 81, Dawson 32, Graves 14, Kerekes 23
Ward 16: DeStefano 81, Dawson 26, Graves 7, Kerekes 11
Ward 17: DeStefano 138, Dawson 32, Graves 25, Kerekes 106
Ward 18: DeStefano 309, Dawson 20, Graves 18, Kerekes 231
Ward 19: DeStefano 141, Dawson 32, Graves 35, Kerekes 104
Ward 20: DeStefano 252, Dawson 182, Graves 166, Kerekes 54
Ward 21: DeStefano 146, Dawson 192, Graves 133, Kerekes 46
Ward 22: DeStefano 252, Dawson 101, Graves 177, Kerekes 48
Ward 23: DeStefano 89, Dawson 56, Graves 84, Kerekes 36
Ward 24: DeStefano 187, Dawson 90, Graves 150, Kerekes 105
Ward 25: DeStefano 498, Dawson 53, Graves 46, Kerekes 262
Ward 26: DeStefano 242, Dawson 50, Graves 101, Kerekes 117
Ward 27: DeStefano 215, Dawson 101, Graves 135, Kerekes 94
Ward 28: DeStefano 169, Dawson 75, Graves 158, Kerekes 101
Ward 29: DeStefano 208, Dawson 89, Graves 136, Kerekes 90
Ward 30: DeStefano 119, Dawson 88, Graves 99, Kerekes 28

Reporting: Melissa Bailey, Thomas MacMillan, Gwyneth K. Shaw, Laurel Leff, Joshua Mamis, Lynne DeLucia, Michelle Turner, Allan Appel, Marcia Chambers, Neena Satija, Amanda Aponta, Shayla Ford, Paul Bass.

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posted by: David Elkin-Ginnetti on September 13, 2011  7:14pm

Yes! Hope this will start some major change on the board of aldermen. Congratulations Brian!

posted by: Jon Doe on September 13, 2011  7:16pm

15 union-backed challengers

Great Now Yale and her allies will be running the city. I thought an Alderman’s job was to serve the community that they live in Not the Mayor of Yale.

posted by: Criag on September 13, 2011  7:19pm

CONGRATS to Brian Wingate and to his supporters finally!!! Well deserved Brian!! Hopefully Blango is next!

posted by: Anderson Scooper on September 13, 2011  7:25pm

In reporting these “wins”, would you please tell us which aldermanic “contests” are scheduled for a November “do-overs”?

My understanding is that DeStefano held back his cash, and after getting it from left to right, is hoping that a seeming Union “takeover” will help him this fall. (would a Mayor Kerekes benefit the unions btw?)

Again, outside of the end of Goldfield, not sure that these results mean a thing…

posted by: Dwight Person on September 13, 2011  7:33pm

What about Ward 2?

posted by: observor on September 13, 2011  7:34pm

It will be so sad to see many incumbents beat if DeStefano wins.He is the one incumbent who needed to go !!! Goes to show that if you want to win you need to be unethical as well as bribing the voters.It looks like “pay to play” survives at the taxpayers expense !!!!

posted by: mitch on September 13, 2011  7:47pm

First Chink in the armor Ted

posted by: Leslie Blatteau on September 13, 2011  7:52pm

Union power!  Congratulations to the hard-working, working-class people who hit the streets, knocking on doors, connecting with their fellow New Haven residents.  We clearly need change.  We clearly want change.  And change is what we are getting.  More voices, more perspectives, more attention to the needs of the people.  To those who will say that the Union only represents the Union’s interests—check your history.  Unions represent people.  Unions work to protect people against the greed and interests of those with more power.  I hope this shift turns the Board of Alderman into an a more present and effective government entity.  We will be watching.

posted by: Curious on September 13, 2011  8:11pm

Dear Jon Doe,

The Yale unions are ANTI-YALE.  They thumb their noses at Yale, they want to wring more and more concessions FROM Yale, for their members.

The unions do not support Yale.  They support the unions.


posted by: LetsBeReal on September 13, 2011  8:13pm


Yes, unions represent people.  Unfortunately, these unions represent people who live outside of New Haven.  Really don’t appreciate my tax dollars being used as a pawn for nontaxpayers’ interests.

posted by: Neil on September 13, 2011  8:18pm

I’m glad the Independent has this info since I can’t get any other local election news from the web, or WELI radio. Not like in the old days. Will you post the ward by ward results for mayor?

posted by: robn on September 13, 2011  8:24pm

Best election that money could buy.

posted by: anon on September 13, 2011  8:26pm

if they care about people , maybe the unions will put an end to the route 34 highway widening.

posted by: Neil on September 13, 2011  8:37pm

Speaking of money buying the election, DeStefano’s TV ads were very slick. Does anyone else think it’s unseemly though that public school teachers and principals appear in the ads to endorse the mayor?? Just doesn’t look ethical.

posted by: For 20 years now? on September 13, 2011  8:39pm

Hopefully, the challengers field ONE CANDIDATE!


DeStefano 4,878

Kerekes 2,761
Graves 2,143
Dawson 1,869

=    6,773   EASY WIN GENTS



posted by: Leslie on September 13, 2011  8:40pm

Lets be real:  Yes let’s.  Unions fight for living wages and excellent benefits for New Haven residents.  Unions partner with community organizations to activate and motivate community residents.  I realize many of the Local 34-35 membership live outside of our city, but there’s a bigger issue here.  When it comes to speaking truth to power, unions are willing to do so.  This type of political action is good for the Board of Aldermen.

posted by: Ellis Copeland on September 13, 2011  8:41pm

So, Johnny Boy gets fewer than 5000 votes and considers it some kind of ringing endorsement??? Hey, Johnny, 58% of Democrats do NOT want you.  And there are more unaffiliateds than Democrats. If the Democrats who don’t want you band together and the same division holds among unaffiliateds, and I don’t think you need to be told none of the three or four Republicans will vote for you, then you’d best start trying to figure out how you’re going to get a private sector job with no qualifications or discernible skills.

posted by: East Rocker on September 13, 2011  8:42pm

Candidates Graves and Dawson -

Congratulations on a good run.  It is clear that the majority of Democrats do not want Mayor DeStefano to remain.  You both ran honorable campaigns, but Jeff Kerekes turned out stronger.  Are you both willing to throw your support to Jeff Kerekes for the general election?  If most of your supporters, plus some Independents and Republicans, vote for Jeff in November, DeStefano could potentially be beaten.  Are you willing to do that?

Jeff - Now is the time for coalition building.

posted by: robn on September 13, 2011  8:48pm

Did you guys forget the mayoral totals or are you just trying to make us work for it?

posted by: Mary Faulkner on September 13, 2011  8:49pm

The three mayoral challengers got 58% of the vote even though they had a fraction of the budget!  Let’s not kid ourselves, 58% is a victory and means the mayor is vulnerable in the general election.  The board of aldermen has seen a dramatic change and the mayor’s office is next!  Thanks to everyone who came out to vote today.

posted by: Neil on September 13, 2011  8:50pm

This is downright historic I would say. DeStefano wins with under 45% of the vote?! A lot worse than his usual showing, at least in general elections. As I recall his only serious primary challenge was from Martin Looney in 2001 and the incumbent won easily. He does usually win the Nov. election by huge margins but when turnout is extremely low that is hardly a mandate. So this result tonight shows that he is not invincible.

posted by: Blame the Mayor on September 13, 2011  8:51pm

This is a mandate from the people of New Haven!

58% of Democrats want someone other than King John to be Mayor. 58%. Now add in Republicans and Independents.

-Kerekes Mayor
-Dawson Police Commissioner
-Graves Corporation Council

Bye Bye King John.

posted by: drbb on September 13, 2011  8:56pm

Big winners-
The “anti- john d” alderman (note please be smart enough to NOT elect Jorge Perez president he’ll flip to the mayor in a heartbeat.

Gwen Mills/Honda Smith-best voter pullers in the city

Bobby Proto- most influential West Haven resident in the city

John Destefano- like him or not he’s a survivor and he survived a big one this time

Sean Matteson- got dealt a bad hand but couldnt overcome it

Suzie Vogt what a horrible showing for her

Rep. Lemar- the price for double dealing in your backyard will be felt next year in a primary

Rep. Candalaria- STAY IN YOUR OWN DISTRICT!!!Im sure will catch a primary

Deserved Better- Carl Goldfield a good guy and long time dedication to the boad should have retired.

The where will you go next award- Darnell Goldson, i look forward to it and im sure it will be entertaining.

The why didn’t i run for Mayor award- this is given to all the “real” candidates who passed

posted by: Steve B 2 on September 13, 2011  9:01pm

So the intellectuals in East Rock’s Ward 9 voted for Kerekes, who wants to restrain spending and prevent tax increases, but also voted for the union-backed Holmes, who wants to protect union jobs and benefits even if it means higher taxes.  I am sure there is some very educated analysis of why it is consistent to support both.

In any case, with the union-backed candidates doing so well, folks have voted for higher taxes whether they meant to or not.

posted by: robn on September 13, 2011  9:01pm

I can see where this is headed. Union reps will be in Mayor Ds office in the morning cutting a sweetheart deal of city concession and heck, why not, pay hikes…unions leg for Mayor D in the upcoming election…a radical change of heart?

Mayor D 1
Unions 1
Taxpayers 0

Look for a mill rate increase in December.

Congratulations to the locals. You’ve effectively taken a city hostage.

posted by: first observer on September 13, 2011  9:06pm

There is real, real opportunity here.  To unite behind one opposition candidate for November, and get this mayor out of there.  Gone. 

Will Messrs. Kerekes, Graves, and Dawson rise to the occasion?

Will the voters of New Haven?

posted by: runon on September 13, 2011  9:07pm

Heck yes, Congrats to Mr. Wingate!
(as for the Mayoral race—shame on Ward 25!)

posted by: SB on September 13, 2011  9:17pm

@Leslie, “I realize many of the Local 34-35 membership live outside of our city, but there’s a bigger issue here.” Hope you feel that way when your property taxes go through the roof (or your rent if you don’t own). See how you like that Truth. The bigger issue is going to be our tax bills.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on September 13, 2011  9:17pm

@Blame the Mayor—

I thought Kerekes was against patronage? FWIW.

posted by: Taxpaying resident on September 13, 2011  9:18pm

Will NHI do a story about how much cash the unions poured into these races altogether? They get 5,000 votes, spent how many dollars per vote? Love that they campaign from a non taxpaying church hall they’ve rented forever.

posted by: westvillelocal on September 13, 2011  9:21pm

Mr. Dawson and Mr. Graves,

Please come together with Mr. Kerekes. The totals show that if your supporters would still express their desire for not having DeStefano as Mayor come the General Election we, as a city, can still get the change that was asked for today. Johnny Is vulnerable! Especially now that alot of his city hall backed Alderpersons have been voted out.

posted by: Mary Faulkner on September 13, 2011  9:28pm

I was at the ward 24 polling station this morning from 6 to 11 am and I was impressed by the Hamilton campaign.  Congratulations Evette for your “impossible” win and I hope you bring the same good vibes with you to the board of aldermen.

posted by: ward 18 on September 13, 2011  9:41pm

Bummed Sal Decola won. I’ve spoken with him and feel he has no idea what he’s doing. Can’t even form an opinion. When questioned about issues in the neighborhood or in the city I couldn’t get a straight answer. His answer was, I’ll have to do some research before giving you an answer. I feel his heart isn’t in it. He said if he lost to Arlene Depino its ok because its still a win for Morris Cove. He’s doing it for Destefano. Destefano wanted him to run. He’d only back Decola, nobody else. So what, the guy runs a carnival. Doesn’t mean he could handle a ward.

posted by: Nick on September 13, 2011  9:55pm

@ Dawson and Graves: you should do a deal with Kerekes. What 58% of registered Democrats want in this town is to see Johnny out. Given that independents and Republicans also want to see his back, we can get rid of him if you two work with Jeffrey.

You should cut a deal with Kerekes: in return for supporting him now, he would support you in future runs at mayor, either when he steps down (if he wins) or in 2 years’ time (if he loses). If you’re big enough to do that, I’d likely vote for you as well.

posted by: Observer on September 13, 2011  10:00pm

this is where the real work begins.  Graves and Dawson ran good, credible campaigns.  both of you proved the point that New Haven residents have had enough of this guy.  Kerekes, you landed where we all thought you would.  In second place with a strong showing but not enough to put you over the top.  Now that DeStefano is teetering on the verge of being voted out—and he knows it—it is more important than ever that the three of you come to a meeting of the minds on where this challenge goes next.  BTW, Tony I have to believe that you are not serious when you say you are considering supporting DeStefano!  After the hard-hitting campaign you ran against him—(I thought it was great)—I will lose all respect for you if you endorse him!  The real work now is for Mr. Graves and Dawson to put their pride aside and support the person with the best chance to beat DeStefano in November.  Mr. Kerekes, don’t screw this up!  You are on the hook to make a viable deal here!  If Mr Graves and Dawson can campaign with Kerekes and get African-Americans to vote for him instead of another two years of DeStefano—he is history!  Let’s make this happening once and for all.

posted by: Frank on September 13, 2011  10:04pm

Mr Looney, would of dethroned Mayor Johnny if it was not for Oshama and his devils. No one was interested in voting after 10 a.m. on 9/11/2001, primary day. I hope the voters of New Haven places the city into a new direction in November with a new Mayor. The survival of the City is at stake.

Come together right now.

posted by: D on September 13, 2011  10:26pm

SB, do you own property in New Haven? Have you SEEN what has happened to our tax bills Under DeStefano and his cronies? Are you honestly making the case that returning the existing board of aldermen and mayor to office would be GOOD for our tax bills? ...

posted by: swatty on September 13, 2011  10:49pm

it would be nice to see those mayoral results a little bit better broken out. maybe the winner for each ward first? graphs? the alpha listing gives an unfair appearance to John D. 

but thanks for the quick results!

posted by: JMS on September 13, 2011  10:57pm

Ditto what robn said. Whoopee! We just replaced one bunch of cronies with another. A horse is a horse is a horse even when it is a horse of a different color. What we need are cows.


posted by: Peter Simon on September 13, 2011  11:27pm

I look at it this way. Of the 11,648 New Haven residents who voted in this election, 8,990 did not vote for Kerekes. 76% voted for another candidste.  Now tne “self proclaimed” budget watchdog will spend more taxpayer dollars to continue with this lunacy.

posted by: thesixteenwords on September 13, 2011  11:38pm

So, supposing that Kerekes is unable to overcome the mayor in November, which I believe is likely, who are the possible future candidates?  Who do we like?

Gary Holder-Winfield?
Smuts or another administration figure?
Michael Smart?
Heck, let’s bring back ol’ Bruce Morrison or someone.

posted by: Thomas on September 13, 2011  11:40pm

Gee I guess I have to Join ZA PAHTTY, to save money should we not bother with staging an election in November with the rest of the country. Well I hope the Yale endowment keeps printing money or Obama gives the Smillow Family a waiver on his new taxes so they can keep New Haven afloat.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 13, 2011  11:51pm


This primary had 4000 less voters than Sept 11, 2001, so the terrorists must have won.  The fact of the matter is voter turnout for local elections in New Haven have consistently declined since that fateful day.

The good news is that this year the opposition candidates received more total votes than Looney in 2001 (6880 vs. 6052).

Seems like the Destefano Supporter in the true Vanishing Breed.

posted by: K on September 14, 2011  12:02am

Only 43%!
Kerekes has a real chance if Graves and Dawson do the right thing and drop out.  More than half of New Haven wants johnny boy out!!

posted by: Brian M. on September 14, 2011  12:04am

Isn’t it a little delusional to be chest thumping when you pull 23% of the vote in a 4 way race?

Or to put yourself in a situation where you’re going to be compared to Joe Lieberman, who’s approval rating is probably south of 23% on those rare days when he’s in the state.

posted by: WEEWUN.COM on September 14, 2011  12:40am


posted by: Edward_H on September 14, 2011  12:48am

That shows there’s more work to do—there are still folks with a slave mentality. They had options and didn’t take advantage,” Graves said.

A “slave mentality” ? Or could it be maybe the voters are adults who just might have differing opinions on whom to cast a vote for even if they live in the same neighborhood. Having a difference of opinion on whom the proper person might be to fill a position is a normal healthy thing for our republic.

posted by: 50 Mills or Bust on September 14, 2011  12:51am

Mr. D,

When John DeStefano held the line against union interests on property tax increases what happened thereafter?

Oh yeah, union leadership held a protest, arguing DeStefano was no better than Wisconsin’s anti-union Gov. Walker-R.

After that, they decided to put forward a hardcore union slate, certainly of dedicated New Haveners, but of people who have never had to compromise between higher wages and astronomical property taxes.

Is it time for the Unions to go on record as to what they think is a reasonable cap on New Haven property taxes? My guess is yes. Sure, they want what they want, and it’s a damn good fight. But they’re also on the verge of running the middle class out of New Haven, and thereby killing future continued recovery.

Lots of folks might be unhappy with Mayor D, but what is it they’re voting for?

posted by: MonJah on September 14, 2011  1:14am

To Graves - Slave Mentality? Why does it always have to be about race with black folks? Do you see Jewish folks always going around and blaming the Germans? - Give it a rest.

posted by: christopher schaefer on September 14, 2011  4:49am

“The city ‘voted for change and I’m glad to take that mantle up,’ DeStefano told subdued supporters.” Change? Then why is he still mayor? Since DeStefano recieved only c. 42% of the vote, his 3 challengers made a significant error in not getting together & agreeing which of them had the best chance of toppling Destafano and having that single challenger stay in the race. Personal egos led to ultimate failure.  “’They [the voters] had options and didn’t take advantage,’ Graves said.” Sadly, this election was largely all about entrenched city employees and contractors working to maintain the status quo. Change? I expect none. Last month I changed from decades of being “Unafilliated” to “Democrat” since, in New Haven’s one-party system, the primary essentially is the general election and this was the first time in recent memory that voters actually had choices.  Today I’ll return to the Registrar of Voters and switch back to “unafilliated”. I just wish THE party in New Haven would change its name to reflect what it is: The Patronage Party.

posted by: fairhavendoc on September 14, 2011  5:22am

OK.  Let’s move on.  Now, candidates, take down all of your campaign signs.  Especially those signs you put on public property.

posted by: Anymouse on September 14, 2011  5:39am

Congratulations, New Haven, your BOA was just purchased!

posted by: Great Job on September 14, 2011  5:44am

Great Job, there were move firefighters out. We have never seen support like that!

Thanks to all firefighters for what you do and what you did!

posted by: robn on September 14, 2011  6:20am

One more word which best describes the perversion of outside special interest groups invading neighborhoods to campaign and achieve their own ends.


posted by: Rafael Ramos on September 14, 2011  7:05am

Congratulation, Gabriel Santiago look forward to working with you. The neighborhood has spoken and your it get some sleep and lets meet ASAP.

posted by: mitch on September 14, 2011  7:54am

Real class remarks from Honda Smith.  Memo to Honda, you are now an elected official, show some respect for the office your neighbors have trusted you with.
I look forward to following her voting record.  Maybe if she objects to a proposal at her first BOA meeting,  she’ll threaten to put caps in asses.
This is the third sign of the armageddon.
Good luck New Haven.

posted by: westville man on September 14, 2011  9:21am

I’m hoping Marchand holds onto his slim lead- tired of the Silverman “re-treads”.
As far as Kerekes goes, HE needs to reach out not only to Graves & Dawson, but the BLACK community as well over the next 2 months. He is not as engaged as he needs to be and it’s being felt.  And I voted for him.
It’s not for Graves & Dawson to “sell” their constituents to him- Kerekes needs to earn their vote.

posted by: SB on September 14, 2011  9:55am

@D, yes, I do indeed own property in New Haven, a 2-family in ER that I live in. I KNOW what has happened to our taxes. Which is a big reason why I didn’t vote for DeStefano. And what I am telling you is that you ain’t seen nothing yet. I absolutely agree with Steve B 2 when he said ” with the union-backed candidates doing so well, folks have voted for higher taxes whether they meant to or not.” Time will tell.

posted by: Jacqueline DeCola on September 14, 2011  10:14am

Congrats to everyone who worked hard for the September 13, 2011 Primaries! Thank you to everyone who came out and voted and showed your city and wards support! I am so proud of my father Salvatore DeCola ward 18, he worked hard day and night for this win. He does a lot for the Morris Cove Community and the family’s of Parochial Schools in New Haven. I think it is only fair that he takes on the rest of the responsibilities of the 18th ward and will be a strong hard working dedicated man for the job! Congrats to Jessica Holmes, you also worked very hard for your win! Good luck to everyone in November!

posted by: Stan Kontogiannis on September 14, 2011  10:21am

I wanted to send my congratulations to all those that won their Primary race yesterday. As some of you may know, I ran for Alderman for Ward 27 and lost. I wish all the winners God’s strength and wisdom as you tackle your new responsibilities on behalf of your respective wards.

posted by: DavidK on September 14, 2011  10:39am

Memo to New Haven

Want Change? How is that working out at national level. Want union aldermen? Prepare for a mill rate increase. What to do? Sell your house and get outta here.

posted by: Ahmed R Ramadan on September 14, 2011  10:54am

Hi Jessica,
Congratulations! Your success was due to your determination and well organized campaign.
Ahmed Ramadan

posted by: Lori on September 14, 2011  11:54am

if the mayor only got 43.2 percent both Graves and Dawson should DROP OUT so that Kerekes could grab the rest of the non-DeStefano voters and vote DeStefano out. Think smart people…there is too many people running against DeStefano. Graves and Dawson need to suck it up and join sides with Kerekes to BEAT DeStefano.

posted by: abg on September 14, 2011  12:10pm

Do the mayoral primary results mean it’s time for a serious discussion about charter revision that includes instant run-off voting?

posted by: Noteworthy on September 14, 2011  12:22pm

I’m not sure what it is about elections, that once completed, allows the victor and sometimes the loser, to exhibit low class, chest thumping faux machismo or downright pettiness. Graciousness in defeat or victory is a charactertistic found in good breeding and class. Those who fail to exhibit it clearly show their trifling roots. Read back through the comments and decide about whom I am speaking.

posted by: Steve B 2 on September 14, 2011  12:53pm


Instant Runoff Voting: YES

posted by: robn on September 14, 2011  1:18pm


“class and good breeding”? Thanks for rocketing us forward; straight into the 17th century.

posted by: Intheknow on September 14, 2011  2:42pm

@robn - what exactly is wrong with @Noteworthy’s statement?  I find it disheartening that you feel that for one to be expected to have class and good breeding is “17th Century”.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with having and showing a bit of class, and by doing so you are showing others that you do have good breeding.  It is unfortunate that in the past decade or so that ideal seems to have gone by the wayside.  In today’s world it seems that the more you stamp your feet and act like a petulant child, you get what you want regardless of whether you should or not.
I wholeheartedly agree with Noteworthy and I raised my concern yesterday regarding this exact situation that we find ourselves in. 
Jeff should take a step back, regroup and think about the future (beyond November).  As someone else said before, it is not necessarily just over half of Democrats voting against DeStefano, but it could also be construed as almost 3/4 of Democrats voting against Jeff.  Jeff should some of the good graces that his parents raised him with and congratulate Mayor DeStefano on his hard-fought win, figure out a way to work cohesively with him on the issues that were important to his campaign and, as I said before, regroup for a few years down the road.  Work to get himself out there and more well-known.

posted by: robn on September 14, 2011  2:59pm


The terms are loaded. Our country was founded with the spilt blood of those breaking away from aristocracy and class distinction. And it was built by slaves who were bred. I might be overreacting but I find the use of the words “class” and “breeding” offensive in context. Maybe better wording would include “dignity” and “civility”.

posted by: cedarhillresident on September 14, 2011  3:13pm


Really? Jeffrey for close to a decade has been trying to give insight and ideas to the mayor now all of a sudden he should step back and not run? And work with him? Setting up NHCAN and organizing citizens from EVERY community to try to get the mayor to listen to us all was not enough? (he still did not listen to the people) Now you want us to believe he will do so now? My my. You dear sir or madam did not see the big picture yesterday. Kerekes Graves and Dawson people all fighting on different teams but all fighting for the same reasons.  Graves people sitting with Kerekes people at the polls all taking and sharing the same ideas. I thought it is was a magical thing in New Haven. Dawson people sharing ideas with kerekes people again all with the same theme. And now many of us will work together in the November race.

I will say it again….POWER TO THE PEOPLE! of New Haven! The ones that really live here!

posted by: Bill on September 14, 2011  4:22pm

Perfect result. The union alders will stop DeStefano screwing the workers. The taxpayers will have to pay for allowing him to build too many schools.

posted by: John on September 14, 2011  6:56pm

These people will eat everything in the pantry. Then they’ll eat the pantry. Then they’ll eat you. Then they’ll eat each other.

posted by: SB on September 14, 2011  6:59pm

@ thesixteenwords: Justin Elicker

posted by: Graves Supporter on September 14, 2011  7:59pm

I keep hearing that Graves and Dawson needs to back out for Kerekes Wrong, together Dawson and Graves beat Kerkes with the amount of supporters that they have as a black running candidate.  I say Kerekes needs to step down and allow Graves to run because he’s the strongest candidate out of the two so then Kerkes can be a part of his cabinet.
Black people wake the hell up and let’s get behind Graves for Mayor.  Kerekes people stop putting us on the back of the bus and Graves don’t settle for less.  Don’t make deals with Kerekes because you will be in the same boat as those who support Mayor D.  People, let’s not be that ship that sails way without an anchor.

posted by: Anon on September 14, 2011  8:03pm

Hey, was the ‘Voting Machine Manufacturing Worker’s Union’ involved in this campaign? The mighty VMMWU?

Just kidding.

Looks like Destefano has lost control of the B of A, but the charter gives him so much power anyway ...

posted by: Disappointed on September 14, 2011  8:44pm

There is no sense in posting any comments in the N.H. Independent.  This morning I saw a great comment from someone, which congratulated the aldermen, who won notwithstanding City Hall efforts.  Then the comment admonished Tony Dawson for even thinking of supporting the Mayor, and to please support Jeffrey Kerekes, and to please not succumb to the Mayor’s persuasions…..and then the comment warned the aldermen not to elect George Perez as President of the BOA because he is the Mayor’s spy and in the Mayor’s pocket. It said that Perez was recently seen skipping and laughing with the Mayor in City Hall.
This afternoon I wanted someone to read it and when I scrolled down on the comments, that comment was gone.  It seems that Perez, or the Mayor got to the Independent.
Shame on you N.H. Independent if you fold under anyone’s pressure.  Why was that comment taken off?  Apparently, Perez called you and put up a stink….because everything the commenter said was true.  What is the sense of having a comment section if it’s going to be scrutinized by the parties involved? I’m sure that he didn’t want anyone to read what the commenter wrote.  He didn’t want anyone to see that the commenter begged the aldermen not to vote him in as President.  He was President before and he always pretended to be on the side of righteousness, while actually selling out to the Mayor.
The only explanation is that he put some kind of pressure on the Independent to take that comment off.  It is really disgusting and unethical.  What happened to the philosophy of freedom of speech?
Forget me ever reading the Independent again.  The reporting is manipulated and extremely sad.  You may as well just be Mayor’s public relations people.

[Editor: Perez never called us. We review all comments that appear on the site. Sometimes other staffers do the original posting, not I; that was the case here. When I later saw the comment, I felt that it was a personal attack based on unconfirmed (and petty) factual information—such as who was seen laughing and skipping with whom, where. And calling people “spies” or saying they’re in someone’s “pocket” also descends into a name-calling we wish to avoid on the Independent, although we do sometimes slip and allow such comments in; thankfully readers sometimes call those mistakes to our attention. If anonymous commenters, or anyone else, enjoys that kind of name-calling, personal-attack, sometimes libelous or otherwise petty discussion, other media outlets regularly publish such comments, so we encourage people to go there.)

posted by: The Associated Press on September 14, 2011  9:19pm

I LOVE it. I LOVE it. Oh my God, how I LOVE it.

Nothing from the Camp of the Disillusioned.

posted by: jb smith on September 15, 2011  6:34am

unions ... are killing the once great city. Of course union baked official have a tremendous advantage because union workers can leave their job and vote anytime they want and they will vote for who they are told to. Many private sector never make it to the polls because they have to actually stay at their jobs and work no matter what. The system is tragically scewed and the people of new haven are screwed. Hope they are ready for another major tax increase to support the unions, not for services like the money should be for.

posted by: Intheknow on September 15, 2011  7:34am

@Cedarhill - I did not say that Jeff should sit back and not run; what I said was that he should continue his work, find a way to work with the Mayor (I guess I should add “if possible”), get his name out there even more across all communities within New Haven and then either run again for Mayor in the future or start as an Alderman so he gets some political experience.  I do think that Jeff has some good ideas, and I know that he is passionate about them, but he is just not ready to jump full-in to being a Mayor.  I would rather him be fully prepared and do the city a world of good than to have him get elected and be completely over his head and get embarrassed.  I’ve known him a long time, I respect and admire him, but again, I just don’t think it is his time yet.
@robn - I am sorry that this has become a race issue for you with the terms “class” and “breeding”.  I did not mean them to be offensive in any way; I can not speak for @Noteworthy, but I would suspect they did not mean it that way either.  I think that I made my position clear on those terms, but if you would prefer “dignity” and “civility” that is fine as well - they both seem to be missing from too many people these days.  I know Jeff is quite capable of both and I can only hope that he demonstrates them in the upcoming weeks; in fact, I hope that everyone - candidates, volunteers, supporters and citizens - can demonstrate them.  A little of that can really go a long way.

posted by: westville man on September 15, 2011  8:11am

@ Graves Supporter

Did Graves file for the general already?  If not, i dont think he can run. In addition, i dont think it’s as easy as combining the vote totals of the 2 as if the Black community will go along with any Black candidate. I said previously that if Kerekes is the only other option, HE NEEDS TO REACH OUT to the Black community, Graves & Dawson, be visible in that community and show an understanding of the issues.
He doesnt get annointed by simply being the alternative.  And i voted for him!

posted by: streever on September 15, 2011  8:43am

IntheKnow & Noteworthy,
“Class” and “breeding” are holdovers from England, where people once believed in actual blood lines (breeding) and used them to create division. Breeding in particular is an exceptionally classist and oppressive concept, which creates a social hierarchy with no mobility. I would avoid referring to that word in general.

Class is SOMEWHAT different, because it can be used to mean the opposite of tacky—however, I’d exercise caution, especially in connection with “breeding”, which is an insipid and disgusting holdover of a society in which social mobility was limited and only for aristocratically connected individuals.

posted by: SteveOnAvon on September 15, 2011  8:44am

@jb smith (and several others on this thread):

Could you be more specific about what you mean by “the unions”? Like “the American people”, the term seems to get thrown around in a way that doesn’t allow for nuance, let alone a recognition of how different unions are organized and function. One would think that the budget debacle would have demonstrated to people that not all unions are the same. There’s a lot of good information out there about the different unions in New Haven, and I suggest people check it out in order to have a more nuanced & productive discussion.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 15, 2011  9:17am

Some of you overthink these comments. I don’t live in the 17th century nor was I referring to it in the use of “class and breeding.” I’m not much interested in PC either. One shows their good breeding by exhibiting class and graciousness. You do that among other things, by saying thank you and congratulating in this case your opponents. Kerekes did that on election night re: all 3 of them including DeStefano. He went on to point out the way forward. That is class and it shows how he was raised. Likewise, the comments of DeCola and Honda Smith show the lack thereof.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on September 15, 2011  10:40am

@ Graves Supporter

They needed to file during the petition time to be on the general ballot. Kerekes was the only one that did.

posted by: Tahirah Sharif on September 15, 2011  4:34pm

Congradulations to all candidates in the election of 2011. The next step is for all communities and representatives to work hard together to create a better community and address the issues that demand ‘change’. I believe we will be successful.