WEST CALDWELL, N.J., 2:30 p.m. — New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. has just endorsed Barack Obama for president, according to a 2 p.m. City Hall press release.

“Senator Obama is bringing a whole new generation of voters into the national debate regarding America’s future,” DeStefano, who had endorsed Conn. Senator Chris Dodd prior to his leaving the race last week, said in the statement. “I believe in his message that aims toward optimism, not partisanship.”

Added the eight-term mayor, “He’d be an absolutely dynamic partner for places like New Haven and the rest of the nation.”

DeStefano and Blango

John DeStefano with Ward 20 Alderman Charles Blango.

The announcement, of course, will hardly matter in tomorrow’s primary. But it could — just maybe — make a difference on Feb. 5, when Connecticut goes to the polls. The reason is twofold. First, DeStefano’s decision probably reflects more than just his own sentiment. He is well tuned into the leaders of New Haven’s Democratic Party and State Central. And a party tilt toward the Illinois Senator could lead to more voter turnout for Obama than initially expected in light of recent polls that show Clinton soaring in the state.

Second, DeStefano just might be lobbying now behind the scenes to bring Obama to Connecticut, perhaps to the Elm City, sometime between Wednesday (when he will be in New York) and Super Tuesday. Since Obama alone has the ability to fill the New Haven Green — as Kennedy did in 1960 — such a stop would likely generate tangible momentum for him in the Constitution State.

We posed the hypothetical to City Hall Spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga and will let you know as soon as she sends a response.

The Yale Daily News