New Haven residents elected Saybrugian Mike Jones ’11 as Ward 1 alderman and reelected Greg Morehead in Ward 22.
In the uncontested Ward 1 race, 110 voters turned out to the polling station at the New Haven Free Public Library, 96 of whom voted for Jones, said Ralph Marcarelli GRD ’77, head moderator of the vote counting process. In April, Jones won the Ward 1 Democratic Committee endorsement over Katie Harrison ’11 and Minh Tran ’09. Jones received 49.2 percent, Harrison 36.9 percent and Tran 12.8 percent of the nearly 474 votes cast.
Tuesday’s turnout is slightly below the figure in 2007, when outgoing Ward 1 Alderwoman Rachel Plattus ’09, who also ran uncontested, received 117 votes. Voter turnout for uncontested Ward 1 races has been declining since the 2003 election, in which 402 Ward 1 residents cast ballots. At the same time, the number of registered voters in the ward has fluctuated, declining in 2007 to 1,511 from 1,869 in 2005 and increasing to 2,000 this year.
“It feels great, this is something that was 11 months in the making,” Jones said of his victory Tuesday night. “It’s full validation of all the hard work both I and all my supporters have invested in this campaign.”
Moving forward, Jones said he intends to continue developing relationships with other aldermen early on in his term so that whatever he tries to achieve he can more easily accomplish. He said he is particularly interested in tackling projects that deal with sustainability, transportation and the city’s economic growth.
Though Jones’ election was uncontested and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. was highly favored to win, three voters interviewed said they still wanted to do their civic duty by casting a ballot.
“While I would like to see more competition in the elections, I think Mayor DeStefano is doing a great job, and am sure Mike will too,” said Ann Killian ’11.
In addition to checking in periodically at the Ward 1 polling station, Jones spent much of Election Day campaigning for the Democratic aldermanic candidates who did face competition. Working alongside the Yale College Democrats, Jones phone-banked to remind New Haven residents to vote.
In Ward 22, incumbent Morehead blew past his two challengers, Democrat Cordelia Thorpe and write-in candidate Lisa Hopkins. Morehead received 213 of the 318 votes cast at polling station at Wexler/Grant Community School on Foote Street. Thorpe and Hopkins garnered just 18 and 87 votes, respectively.
It was an unsurprising victory for Morehead, who ran a campaign based on improving community safety, strengthening the relationship between the Yale and Dixwell Avenue communities, and engaging the community’s youth.
It was the seventh time Morehead and Thorpe ran against one another for the Ward 22 seat. The Yale College Democrats endorsed Morehead, as did DeStefano.
“I feel good,” Morehead said in a phone interview after his victory Tuesday night. “I know that the residents are confident with me in my position; if not, they would not have come out to show their support.”
He added that he was pleased that what he termed the negative campaigning tactics on his opponents’ parts did not have an effect on his supporters. Ten Morehead supporters interviewed said they voted for Morehead because, as an alderman, he has been actively involved in the community and available to constituents.
“If you have a problem, you can call on Greg,” said Monia Pierce, 21. “You leave a message, he will get back to you.”
Dixwell resident Sam Cooper, 47, said he thinks Morehead keeps the Dixwell community safe and likes his involvement with residents, adding that while he knows what Morehead has done for Dixwell, he doesn’t really know much about Thorpe.
Donna Turner, a Yale custodian for 23 years who works at Payne Whitney Gymnasium, said that Morehead’s focus on the youth of Dixwell was a strength of his campaign.
“[Morehead] is a good alderman,” Turner said. “He is a good role model, and we need male role models.”
Yalies registered as residents of Ezra Stiles, Morse, Silliman and Timothy Dwight colleges and Swing Space vote in Ward 22. Those registered as residents of Old Campus dorms or the remaining residential colleges vote in Ward 1.
Seventy-two more people turned out to vote in yesterday’s Ward 22 election than in the 2007 election. Since 2007, the number of registered voters in Ward 1 has increased to 2,000 from 1,511.
As of press time, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz ’83 had yet to certify the vote tallies.
Clarification: Nov. 4, 2009
This article reports the Ward 22 election results for votes cast only at Wexler/Grant Community School. Once absentee ballots were tallied Tuesday, incumbent Greg Morehead received 237 of the 449 total votes cast, Democrat Cordelia Thorpe received 18 votes, and write-in candidate Lisa Hopkins received 194 votes.