Jones wins Ward 1 endorsement vote

Mike Jones ’11 won the Ward 1 Democratic endorsement vote on Friday, taking 49.2 percent of the vote.

Katie Harrison ’11 finished second with 36.9 percent, followed by Minh Tran ’09 with 12.8 percent of the vote. Nearly 475 Ward 1 residents cast ballots in the election, the first Democratic endorsement vote ever to be held in Ward 1.

In a William L. Harkness Hall classroom full of campaign supporters and campus activists, Ward 1 Democratic Committee Co-Chair Rhiannon Bronstein ’11 announced the results of the race late Friday evening. Jones will officially receive the endorsement of the Ward 1 Democratic Committee at a meeting at 5 p.m. Sunday, Bronstein said.

While Bronstein congratulated Jones and thanked the three candidates for their commitment to bettering the city, she held her highest praise for the endorsement vote itself.

“The enthusiasm around the [endorsement vote] process and the dialogue it generated proves that it was a success,” Bronstein said.

Jones garnered 233 votes in Friday’s election, besting Harrison, who received 176 votes, by 57 votes. Tran received 61 votes, while four voters did not choose any of the three candidates.

Upon learning the outcome of the race, there was polite clapping throughout the audience, but all three candidates remained seated and composed. Tran and Harrison congratulated Jones, but then made a quick exit with the rest of their supporters, and the classroom was virtually empty only a few minutes after the announcement. Jones’ supporters gathered in the hallway outside, hugging one another and taking a commemorative photo.

After the announcement, Jones admitted he was relieved that the campaign was over but said he plans to soon contact other aldermen and city officials in order to begin building relationships he will need if he ultimately serves on the board. He also praised the other candidates for driving an issues-based race.

“It’s been a fun couple of months, and I’m excited to start joining forces with Minh and Katie on issues facing the city,” Jones said.

Jones admitted he was somewhat surprised that voter turnout was not higher, but he maintained that he was satisfied with the dialogue and debate fostered by the endorsement vote.

New Haven Democratic Town Committee Chair Susie Voigt, who attended the election results announcement, said she was not at all surprised by the number of voters who turned out to vote in Ward 1. In fact, she said, the endorsement vote yielded more voters than most aldermanic elections in other wards.

Though turnout has been higher in the regular elections of the two previous contested Ward 1 aldermanic elections — the 2003 election yielded 541 votes and the 2005 election drew more than 800 voters to the polls — Voigt maintained that 474 votes in a straw poll for the Democratic endorsement was an impressive figure.

After the Ward 1 Democratic Committee endorses Jones on Sunday, the New Haven Democratic Town Committee will almost certainly endorse the Saybrook College sophomore in July. But the race is not over yet: The final aldermanic election will not take place until November, and it is still possible for a fourth candidate to enter the race as an independent, Republican or third-party candidate.

When asked about the possibility of a second campaign in the fall, Jones said the possibility had occurred to him, though he said he preferred not to dwell on it.

“I think that if you’d asked me that question five months ago, I would have given you a different answer than I would now,” Jones said. “But I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

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