October 27th, 2013 | City

New Haven Register endorses Harp

The New Haven Register endorsed Toni Harp ARC ’78 in her bid for the mayor’s office in an editorial published yesterday. The paper’s editorial board wrote that Harp’s clout in the state capitol, in addition to her string of endorsements from within the city, best qualify her for mayor, over her opponent  Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10.

“Where [the candidates] differ … is in the number of quality relationships they’ve built that have the potential to help them run the city,” the Register wrote in a Sunday editorial. “With overwhelming support from the city’s Board of Aldermen and unions, and with close ties to the Malloy administration and the General Assembly, Harp has a coalition of support that would greatly enhance her ability to lead the city.”

The Register did not back Harp in the four-way Democratic primary, when they endorsed Henry Fernandez LAW ’94, former economic development administrator under outgoing New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. The editorial board said some of the their concerns about Harp from September remain reservations even as they endorse her this time around.

Harp has often been vague about her vision for the city, the editorial board wrote, sometimes speaking in generalities instead of “outlining a clear vision for how she would lead New Haven.”

“Our hope is that the campaign’s lack of energy is more a product of Harp’s front-runner status than an indicator of how well she will govern if elected,” the editorial added.

The Register said Harp would better address the city’s problems by leveraging the relationships she has built in Hartford over the past 20 years, including improving city hall’s relationship with the governor’s office. Close ties to the city’s unions, the editorial added, will help her extract concessions at the bargaining table needed to ensure the city’s fiscal sustainability.

The editorial praised Elicker’s character and his energetic campaign.

“It’s clear that Elicker has a potential for a bright future in New Haven politics,” the editorial said. “There’s a real possibility he is a future mayor.”

At this point in time however, the Register said, Elicker does not have the experience to make good on his policy ideas.