City | 9:09 pm | September 10, 2013 | By Matthew Lloyd-Thomas and Isaac Stanley-Becker

UPDATED: Harp wins Democratic primary

After Tuesday’s Democratic Primary, the four-way race to replace retiring New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. is now a two-way showdown between Connecticut State Sen. Toni Harp ARC ’78 and Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10.

Harp clinched the primary with 49.9 percent of the vote. Elicker came in second with 23.55 percent, and Henry Fernandez LAW ’94 third with 18.69 percent. Hillhouse High School Principal Kermit Carolina brought up the rear with 8.29 percent.

In the wake of Tuesday night’s results, both Fernandez and Carolina announced they would drop out of the general election and not run as Independents as they had initially planned.

“I believe that the people of New Haven deserve a run-off between the top two candidates, and I’m not one of those two candidates,” Fernandez said after the election returns to a group of supporters at Michael’s Trattoria on Court Street.

Fernandez’s announcement was a surprise to some, since Fernandez had suggested earlier in the election process that he would run as an Independent in the general election. He said his next plan is to go back to work at his company and he does not know whether he will run for office in New Haven in the future.

Fernandez also said he has not thought about which candidate, Elicker or Harp, he will support in the general election. 

Given Harp’s advantage leading into the Primary, Tuesday was as much a race for second place as anything. Elicker said over the weekend that he hoped the candidates in third and fourth place would drop out, thus giving Harp’s opponent a better chance of shaking her lead.

The Harp camp made it their objective to win 50 percent of the electorate, a goal they might still reach as absentee ballots have not yet been counted.

Monica Disare contributed reporting.

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