Connecticut businessman Andy Ross’s short-lived campaign for New Haven mayor lasted for less than 72 hours.
In a comment on the New Haven Independent Web site Friday, Ross said he was persuaded that it had been the wrong choice to enter the mayoral race in the first place, though he said he might run in the future after schooling himself on the workings of New Haven. Ross — who announced his intention to run Tuesday — called the week a “great lesson in civics and humility for me.”
“It has become clear to me that passion and a desire to want to see change in a city is not enough to make a person qualify for holding public office especially the top spot a city has to offer,” he wrote. “I was blinded by the thought that a willingness to want to bring about change and apply grander visions would be enough to convince people that an unknown and admitted inexperienced person of government might be able to do the job.”
Earlier in the week, Ross had garnered criticism on the Independent’s forums for having never heard of the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods, according to an interview with Paul Bass ’82. He also said he thought the dispute between Yale-New Haven Hospital and the union trying to organize there was “resolved,” although it is arguably less resolved now than ever before.
Ross is owner of the Andy Ross Group, the second-largest mortgage firm in Connecticut, and at age 15 was one of the youngest people in Connecticut to receive his real estate license.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said last week that he was pleased Ross had — at that point in time — decided to run.
“I think the most interesting thing is he cited public financing as one of his reasons to run, and I’m pleased with that, because the intention of the public financing ordinance we passed — the first one in the sate – is to encourage participation such as Mr. Ross’s,” he said.
But in running, Ross, an independent, had also cited what he called a loss of focus by DeStefano, who has been mayor for 14 years, during his three-year run for governor. DeStefano, however, said his administration was “energetic” and “active,” in that it has taken a “strong stand” on immigrant rights, taken the initiative to permit public financing of mayoral campaigns before any other Connecticut city and implemented new youth initiatives.
Although DeStefano lost his first election for mayor in 1989, he defeated John Daniels in 1993 and has won all seven mayoral elections since. His most formidable challenger was current Connecticut Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, who spurred an unusually expensive primary race in 2001 that DeStefano nevertheless won by a ratio of about two to one.