We had hoped it would not come to this. But in Ward 1, where a tortured Democratic Party endorsement process saw candidates leaping in and out of the election until hours before the vote, the unexpected has fast become the rule. Aldermanic candidates Lex Paulson ’02 and Michael Montano ’03, who lost out to Ben Healey ’04 for the Ward 1 Democratic Committee’s endorsement last month, have bowed out of the race for the party’s primary.

That is more than a disappointment. It is a disservice to the ward, which includes Old Campus and eight of Yale’s residential colleges. With the possibility of a competitive party primary in September or a Republican opponent in November unlikely, the 50-member ward committee’s endorsement, a legal mechanism for putting a Democratic candidate on the ballot, will have turned out to be a coronation. Healey, who is new to both New Haven and Yale and displayed the least knowledge of both during the endorsement process, will likely enter office tested not by a robust election of ideas but a brief tutorial about the role of the alderman.

We expected more from both Paulson and Montano — and so did the residents of Ward 1. Montano’s explanation that “it may be better to work together than fight” misses the point. Elections are, at least in theory, supposed to be about fighting for the right to represent others.