Hausladen fends off Ward 7 challenger

Doug Hausladen ’04, the incumbent alderman of Ward 7, defeated Ella Wood '15 in the Democratic primary.
Doug Hausladen ’04, the incumbent alderman of Ward 7, defeated Ella Wood '15 in the Democratic primary. Photo by Larry Milstein.

Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen ’04 defended his bid for re-election to the New Haven Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, withstanding a Democratic primary challenge mounted by Ella Wood ’15.

The final count gave 331 votes to Hausladen and 232 to Wood, dwarfing 2011’s turnout levels and delivering a victory to the incumbent.

On his way to a post-returns party hosted by mayoral hopeful and Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10, Hausladen said he felt “terrific.”

“The voters of Ward 7 have made their votes count,” he said. “They’re going to have a strong independent voice on the Board, and I’m looking forward to the Democratic Party supporting me in the general election.”

Wood, an Ezra Stiles junior from Albuquerque, N.M., filed paperwork to oppose Hausladen in early August, two days after moving from her apartment in Ward 2 to Ward 7. Simultaneously, she filed to run as an Independent in the general election pending a loss in the primary.

In the wake of Tuesday’s results, Wood said she is “not sure” whether she will stay in the race through November, a decision that she added will be based on “conversations with all of my supporters.”

Many of those supporters crowded into the New Haven Hall of Records to await the announcement of the vote count at Wood’s side. She said Tuesday afternoon that she had amassed a volunteer staff of roughly 35 people, comprising both Ward 7 residents and Yale students. Many of her volunteers were affiliates of the city’s unions, principally UNITE HERE Locals 34 and 35, which represent pink- and blue-collar workers at the University.

Wood worked over the summer for UNITE HERE in New Haven and is a member of Students Unite Now, an undergraduate affiliate of UNITE HERE’s Locals 34 and 35.

In the weeks leading up to the primary, Wood won the support of a series of union-backed city politicians, including Democratic mayoral primary victor Toni Harp ARC ’78, Ward 1 Alderman Sarah Eidelson ’12, Ward 22 incumbent and Democratic primary victor Jeanette Morrison, Ward 9 Alderman Jessica Holmes, Ward 6 Alderman Dolores Colon Ward 29 Alderman and Local 35 Vice President Brian Wingate, many of whom spent the afternoon canvassing voters or standing outside the polling place urging Ward 7 residents to vote for Wood.

Eidelson, whose High Street apartment served as Wood’s headquarters throughout the day, delivered phone messages to Ward 7 residents encouraging them to come to the polls.

“It’s extremely, extremely close out there so we really need you to vote as soon as possible and to bring the people you live with,” Eidelson said in a voicemail message to a resident of High Street.

Both candidates said they knocked on every door in the ward in the final days before the primary — and said their volunteers re-knocked every single door on the day of the primary.

Hausladen said he was disappointed by a number of Wood’s vote-pulling tactics, which he said relied on “dragging people to the polls.”

“I’ve seen five different vehicles, most with New York license plates, driving by all day,” Hausladen said.

Wood countered that all of her volunteers were residents of New Haven and that the car with New York plates was a rental.

Shortly after the votes were tallied and announced, Wood said she was not surprised by the results given the amount of time — five weeks — she had to campaign.

“We brought a phenomenal number of people to the ballot box, and, in five weeks, made a huge difference in what was previously an uncontested race,” she said. She told her supporters that “we have all run this campaign.”

Hausladen ran as part of a slate of aldermanic candidates called Take Back New Haven, a group aiming to counter the supermajority of city lawmakers backed by Yale’s unions. That supermajority emerged in 2011 when 17 of 18 union-supported candidates won election. Hausladen said he had 10 to 15 supporters volunteering for him on Election Day, and ran his campaign out of the Luck & Levity Brewshop on Court Street.

If he is challenged in the general election, Hausladen said, his strategy will not change. He said he is confident in a second victory — and confident he will also win the votes of many of the ward’s Independents.

“We’ve seen how hard it is to be an independent voice if you don’t have a machine out there behind you,” he said.

A number of Yale students — including Travis Hutchinson ’15, who lives in Rosenfeld Hall — said they voted for Wood because she reached out to them in their dorms. But one student, Mary Jo Medina ’15, said it was precisely the extent of Wood’s outreach efforts that turned her off. She said Wood approached her in the dining hall and later that night at her dorm, where her campaign “had people on every floor.”

Dallas Davis, a Ward 7 resident, said he voted for Hausladen because of the alderman’s help in shoveling out neighborhoods following the snowstorm in 2012.

History Department Chair Naomi Lamoreaux and her husband, David Lamoreaux, said they both voted for Hausladen because of his depth of knowledge of the ward, though Brooks Kelly, a middle school teacher in Danbury, said he voted for Wood because he had “never seen the other guy.”

There are 1,700 registered Democrats in Ward 7.

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