A year and a half into her first term as Ward 1 Alderman, Sarah Eidelson ’12 announced Monday evening that she will seek reelection to the position this November.
Eidelson said she plans to file campaign paperwork at City Hall on Tuesday, accompanied by Ward 1 co-chairs Nia Holston ’14 and Ben Crosby ’14. Her decision came after “final conversations with family members” over the weekend, she said, and was motivated primarily by a desire to continue leading the Board on its youth services agenda.
“I’m running again because I’m really excited to continue the work I’ve been doing in the ward — and in particular to keep being a leader of the comprehensive youth agenda,” Eidelson said. “We’ve made some huge steps forward but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Youth opportunities have been at the forefront in her discussions with ward constituents, Eidelson said, adding that she also hopes to focused on the jobs pipeline and New Haven Works, an initiative that seeks to match 1000 residents with jobs in New Haven over the next four years. She also hopes to improve community policing.
Eidelson’s announcement ends months of suspicion about a leading Democratic candidate in ward 1. Members of campus political groups — including the Yale College Democrats and Students Unite Now — previously emphasized the role of Eidelson’s candidacy in shaping other students’ decisions to enter. Both Drew Morrison ’14 and Jon Silverstone ’15 said in February they might run if Eidelson did not. In subsequent weeks, they both decided against running.
“It seems like the progressive community at Yale is going to be coalescing around Sarah’s candidacy,” Morrison said. “People on the left have been looking for some time for a candidate and now they have one.”
Running to unseat Eidelson in the fall is Republican Paul Chandler ’14, a Westport, Conn. native picked by the Yale College Republicans as their candidate for the aldermanic election.
Morrison and Yale College Democrats President Nicole Hobbs ’14 said Eidelson’s entrance solidifies the field.
“I don’t think any other Democratic candidates will enter the race at this point,” Hobbs said, adding that she has “personally been very impressed” with Eidelson’s work on the Board but declined to issue an official endorsement.
Morrison agreed, saying that, while Chandler has the backing of the YCR, Eidelson “is going to gain the support of a lot of the traditional infrastructure on the other side of the spectrum.”
In the process of deciding whether to seek a second term, Eidelson said she spoke with Hobbs and other Dems members, including Sterling Johnson ’15, as well as Morrison, the ward 1 co-chairs and Students Unite Now members.
Eidelson, who also works as a graphic designer, said she decided to leave her part-time position in New York a few weeks ago, saying she “didn’t like having to leave New Haven every week to commute.”
Eidelson’s status as a graduate of the college has been a source of criticism. Chandler’s campaign manager, Ben Mallet ’16, said Eidelson is not sufficiently connected to the student body. Chandler said he was “surprised Sarah has chosen to seek reelection.” He declined to comment further.
“We just think it’s odd that someone has chosen to break with the convention of current Yale students running in the ward,” said Amalia Halikias ’15, who is working as a spokesperson on Chandler’s campaign.
Holston and Crosby both emphasized Eidelson’s achievements and leadership on the Board. They both said they will be supporting her.
“I’m obviously very excited about Sarah making the decision to run again,” Holston said. “Tough knowing her character I’m not surprised at all. She’s a great person and she’s really dedicated to the city.”
Eidelson said she has yet to assemble a campaign team and added that “the campaign is an extension of the position.” She said she will be working in the coming months to translate energy from conversations with constituents into a campaign.
Those interviewed declined to speculate about Eidelson’s chances of winning reelection, though many emphasized that New Haven — and ward 1 specifically — leans heavily Democratic.
“It’s a multiple-person race,” Crosby said. “And that means we have work to do.”