Ward 1 Alderman Ben Healey ’04 won reelection to another two-year term Tuesday, defeating challenger Dan Kruger ’04 with more than 75 percent of the vote.
Despite a campaign that frequently included heated debate over Healey’s record, voters in Ward 1 — which is dominated by Yale students — resoundingly approved another term for Healey. In a race that attracted high turnout for a municipal election, Healey, a Democrat, received 403 votes compared to 128 for Kruger, who ran as an independent.
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who did not face any major party opposition, also overwhelmingly won Ward 1, earning 400 of the 532 total votes cast at Dwight Hall.
After the results were announced, Healey said he was “grateful and humbled” by the opportunity to serve another term as alderman. Healey, who was first appointed Ward 1 Alderman in 2001, said he planned to continue working on the issues he built his campaign around, including domestic partnership rights for same-sex couples, campaign finance reform and the environment.
“It’s been a campaign about how we’re going to build a stronger New Haven together, and I’m excited to get started on that work tomorrow,” Healey said.
Although Kruger said he was disappointed by Healey’s margin of victory, he said he was pleased that his campaign fostered a political dialogue on campus.
“I thought we’d do better than that,” Kruger said. “But it hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm that we engaged people who have never been engaged in the political process before.”
On a cold, wet day, Yale students turned out to vote at Dwight Hall in large numbers before noon, although the number of voters tapered off in the afternoon. The turnout — which represents about 31.4 percent of the 1,696 registered voters in Ward 1 — was significantly higher than the last aldermanic election in 2001, when 243 people voted for Healey in an uncontested election.
Both candidates said the high turnout reflected a campaign that highlighted differences between the two candidates. But on Election Day, Healey — who had a large get-out-the-vote operation assisted by the Yale College Democrats — mobilized far more voters than Kruger’s smaller campaign organization.
Healey said his campaign had so many volunteers in Ward 1 that many students were sent to the Ward 22 polling place in Dixwell to campaign for Democratic nominee Drew King. King won Ward 22, which includes Morse, Ezra Stiles, Silliman and Timothy Dwight colleges as well as Swing Space.
“We’ve got more volunteers than we know what to do with,” Healey said outside Dwight Hall in the late afternoon.
After the results were announced, Kruger called Healey to offer his congratulations. Kruger said Healey thanked him and remarked that the election had changed the way Healey would serve as alderman.
Dana Worth ’04 said he was excited to vote in a contested race, which he said was a contrast from past elections he had seen as a Yale student.
“It’s good to have two Yale students running against each other so we can see their different platforms,” Worth said. “I’m very happy to see the competition.”
Kruger said he was pleased that he helped improve representation in Ward 1 — even if he was not going to get the opportunity to serve as alderman. While Kruger criticized Healey throughout the campaign for failing to communicate effectively with his constituents, he said he thought the competitive race had encouraged Healey to interact more with Yale students.
“I think he will be a much better representative than he was before, and if I contributed to that — and I think I did — I think that’s something to be really proud of,” Kruger said.
Kruger said he intended to remain involved in the New Haven community, although he said he did not know what he planned to do after graduation next spring.