Uncertainty reigns in Ward 7

Ella Wood ’15 has not yet announced whether she will continue on as an Independent through the Nov. 5 contest.
Ella Wood ’15 has not yet announced whether she will continue on as an Independent through the Nov. 5 contest. Photo by Alex Schmeling.

More than two weeks after winning the aldermanic Democratic primary, Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen ’04 still does not know whether he will face a challenger in the general election.

Ella Wood ’15, who ran against Hausladen in the primary, is yet to announce whether she will continue on as an independent through the Nov. 5 contest. According to Hausladen, though, Wood has little time to decide. City Clerk Ron Smith sent a letter to candidates who did not receive their parties’ endorsements — called petitioning candidates — saying they had until today to make a decision. Hausladen said that Wood has not alerted the clerk as to her decision.

“I’m a classically trained scientist,” said Hausladen, who came to Yale to study biology, “I have to assume that until I have better data, my data is good, and right now Ella Wood is running in the general election.”

Hausladen said that he left a voicemail on Wood’s cell phone in the days after the primary inviting her to meet about her ideas for the ward. Wood, though, never returned Hausladen’s call.

Wood did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Candidates who lose in the primary can choose to run as independents in the general election, with mayoral candidate Justin Elicker FES ‘10 SOM ‘10 as a notable example in the city’s mayoral race. During the Sept. 10 primary, Wood garnered 232 votes to Hausladen’s 331 in the ward that includes much of downtown and parts of East Rock. In the hours after her loss, the Ezra Stiles junior said she would need time to decide whether she would run as an independent, but did not specify how long.

“From here we reevaluate,” Wood said at the time. “We’re talking to supporters about what’s the best way forward.”

Ward 7 Democratic co-chair Alberta Witherspoon also said she has not heard from Wood in the wake of the primary. Witherspoon, who supports Hausladen, said that the co-chairs plan to spend more time knocking on doors, hoping to increase voter turnout in the general election, regardless of whether Wood runs.

“We’re going to try to cover more territory,” Witherspoon said, “because we have a few buildings in our ward that we cannot go into and solicit for votes.”

Laurie Kennington, president of Yale’s Local 34 union, could not be reached for comment. Wood worked for Unite Here, the parent union of Local 34, over the summer and her candidacy has been deeply connected to organized labor.

Smith’s deadline, according to Hausladen, is at least partially responsible for other candidates’ decisions to suspend their campaigns. On Wednesday, former city clerk candidate Sergio Rodriguez announced he was dropping out of the race.

In the meantime, the Ward 7 incumbent is continuing his campaign as if he were in a contested election. He said that he is continuing to canvass throughout the ward.

“The primary was really a learning experience and one that has made me a stronger alder and a stronger candidate,” Hausladen said.

Wood’s candidacy came as a late-summer surprise. New to the ward, she jumped into the race only days after breaking her lease and moving from Dwight Street in Ward 2, running on a platform of providing better representation to all of the ward’s residents.

Hausladen said, however, that fundraising remained uncertain in the absence of Wood’s decision. Although aldermanic campaigns generally operate on low budgets, his candidacy will require more funds should Wood contest the race.

Hausladen was first elected to the Board of Aldermen in 2011.

Correction: Sept. 30

A previous version of this article misstated the vote tally of the Ward 7 Democratic primary. Hausladen’s vote totaled 331 to Wood’s 232.

Comments