June 4th, 2013 | City

18 Aldermen endorse Harp in mayoral race

Eighteen New Haven aldermen endorsed State Senator and mayoral candidate Toni Harp ARC ’78 over the weekend, throwing their weight behind the most recent contender in the seven-way race to replace retiring Mayor John DeStefano Jr.

Those 18 city lawmakers — who make up a majority of the 30-member Board of Aldermen — signed a written statement of support for Harp’s candidacy before a collection of them formally announced the endorsement at Harp’s campaign headquarters at an event Sunday.

“As members of the Board of Aldermen, we proudly announce our support for Toni Harp for mayor,” the statement reads. “Our board issued a legislative agenda at the beginning of our term that reflected the priorities of our constituents: Jobs, Youth, Public Safety, Constituent Services and Fiscal Responsibility. Toni Harp is the candidate with the track record to deliver on the priorities we have set and the vision to lead our city in bold new directions.”

Among those who announced their support for Harp, an 11-term state senator representing New Haven in Hartford, are Board President and Ward 5 Alderman Jorge Perez and Ward 1 Alderman Sarah Eidelson ’12. Eidelson said she has been impressed by Harp’s “decades of leadership” in the state senate, particularly her “staunchy advocacy for New Haven’s youth.”

Both Eidelson and Perez, along with 13 other aldermen, were elected in 2011 with the support of Local 34, Yale’s UNITE HERE union representing clerical and technical workers at the University. The union, which has emerged as a powerful vote-pulling organization in city elections, is now expected to endorse Harp. In the past weeks, the union leadership has been in the process of interviewing candidates before making their coveted endorsement.

Accepting the endorsement, Harp promised to work collaboratively with the Board if elected mayor. Prior to her tenure as a state senator, she served as an alderman from 1988 till 1992.

Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10, who is also running for mayor, has thus far received the endorsement of just one of his colleagues on the Board: Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen ’04.