With the most recent polls showing a dead heat in Connecicut’s race for governor, incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy is banking on a strong turnout in the Elm City to carry him through next Tuesday’s election.
The Malloy campaign has taken up the help of prominent Democrats in New Haven to execute a door-to-door canvas strategy. Last Week, Malloy and Delauro also spoke at Park Ridge Towers Elderly Housing to specifically rally senior voters.
A Quinnipiac University poll, released last Wednesday, puts support for both Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley virtually tied, with Malloy at 43 percent and Foley at 42 percent, suggesting that Tuesday’s contest will be as close as the 2010 election. In 2010, Malloy edged a 0.5 percent victory over Foley. Connecticut Democrats attributed Malloy’s 2010 victory in part to his landslide victory in New Haven, where he won by 18,613 votes, compared to a 6,404 vote margin for the state at large.
State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney said that Malloy needs as many votes from New Haven, including Yale, as he can get to win the election. Vincent Mauro, the town chair of the Democratic party, echoed Looney’s sentiment.
“If we can put up as many votes for Malloy as we did four years ago, his chance of winning will be that much higher,” Mauro said.
In 2010, Malloy’s margin of victory in New Haven was larger than in any other town or city in the state.
Jimmy Tickey, the campaign manager for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, said that a wide margin in New Haven was especially necessary because the governor’s 6,404-vote victory in 2010 amounted to just a few votes’ margin per precinct. In an effort to encourage as many voters as possible to hit the polls next week, the Connecticut Democratic Party has used a “door-to-door, neighborhood-to-neighborhood” approach, according to Devon Puglia, spokesman for the state Democratic Party.
But Looney and Mauroboth agreed that this election year would have a lower voter turnout compared to 2010 because there is not a Senate seat up for grabs.
Despite the Democrats’ grassroots campaigning, in 2010, only 43 percent of eligible New Haven voters showed up to the polls. Former Ward 10 Alder Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10, who ran against Mayor Toni Harp as an independent candidate last year and recently endorsed Malloy, said he noticed even less excitement around the election in the city this year.
“There hasn’t been as much as noise around this election in New Haven as there was four years ago,” Elicker said. “I know the Malloy campaign has been working to generate enthusiasm.”
Calling New Haven “critical” to Malloy’s reelection bid, Tickey said that he and his team have frequently collaborated with the Yale College Democrats to encourage Yale students to vote. He added that they have placed a particular emphasis on canvassing freshmen. DeLauro, for example, canvassed on Old Campus with the Yale College Democrats two weekends ago.
“It’s really important for young people to exercise their right to vote,” Tickey said.
In spite of these efforts, of 22 Yale students interviewed, only five intended to vote. Of the 17 students who did not intend to vote, 11 cited being registered in their home states.
Lucia Baca-Spezzacatena ’17 said she was voting in her home state of Florida because she knows Florida better and is more invested in the politics of her home state.
Harp has not yet endorsed Malloy, but City Hall spokesman Laurence Grotheer said her endorsement was implied. Grotheer said Harp believes that a Malloy victory will benefit New Haven voters, adding that the mayor hopes Yale students will join her at the polls.
Thirty-six states will choose governors on Nov. 4, and, in nine of those states, polls have the leading candidate within the margin of error.