New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.’s fate was never in doubt Tuesday, but victories by several of his allies made his election to a sixth term a much more joyous occasion.
Democrats endorsed by DeStefano won races in seven of the nine wards where contested elections were held Tuesday, according to early results from the polls. By late Tuesday evening, Democrats appeared to have won 28 of the 30 seats on the Board of Aldermen, picking up two wards and installing 13 new aldermen.
In Ward 22, which includes Morse, Ezra Stiles, Silliman and Timothy Dwight colleges as well as Swing Space, DeStefano ally Drew King defeated incumbent Alderwoman Mae Ola Riddick by a 219-117 margin. Riddick ran a write-in campaign to maintain her seat after losing to King in the September Democratic primary.
DeStefano, who earned 84.5 percent of the vote in his race against little-known Guilty Party candidate Ralph Ferrucci, said after polls closed Tuesday night that a revitalized Democratic Party had come to the polls in New Haven.
“What won tonight in New Haven?” DeStefano said before a victory party at Playwright’s. “A team won. But more than a team, a set of ideas and a set of values won.”
In particular, DeStefano said the victories of several candidates who support domestic partnership rights for same-sex couples represent a party that “stand[s] for dignity and respect.” The mayor said he expected a domestic partnership resolution, which was narrowly defeated this spring, to pass by a wide margin on the Board of Aldermen next year.
City Democrats picked up one seat each from the Greens and the Republicans, as Elizabeth Addonizio GRD ’06 won the seat of retiring Green John Halle in Ward 9 and Ina Silverman ’80 defeated Republican minority leader Nancy Ahern in Ward 25.
But Democrat Andre Baker failed in her bid to unseat Green Alderwoman Joyce Chen ’01 in Ward 2, while Republican Arlene DePino maintained a sole Republican voice on the board in Ward 18. The race in Ward 2 was particularly contentious, as leaders of Yale unions — who are frequently allied with the city’s Democratic party — provided significant support to Chen, a Green who opposed the domestic partnership initiative.
In Ward 22, which included Silliman and Timothy Dwight colleges for the first time, King, a pastor, said he hoped to create a closer partnership between students in his ward and the residents of his Dixwell neighborhood.
“We’re going to have a beautiful working relationship with one another,” King said.
Rev. Henry Morris, a King supporter, said many of the volunteers working with King were Yale students. Morris said he thought Yale voters were “overwhelmingly” in favor of King, who was supported by both the Yale College Democrats and the Yale unions.
Linnea Duvall ’05, a Silliman resident, said she had received several reminders from the Yale College Democrats to vote for King. Although she said she had no trouble finding the polling place — which was at the Edith Johnson Towers in Dixwell — she said she thought turnout among Yale students in Ward 22 was relatively low.
“It’s far away, and the weather’s not so good,” Duvall said.