This article has been updated to reflect the version that ran in print on March 23.
Mayor Toni Harp will run for re-election this November.
Harp filed papers with the City Clerk’s office on Friday and formed a campaign committee, setting in motion her bid for a second two-year term. The mayor also scheduled her campaign’s first fundraiser for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 30, at the Barracuda Bistro and Bar.
Harp has not yet formally announced that she is seeking re-election, but no other individuals have thus far declared an intent to run — either formally or informally. City Hall spokesman Laurence Grotheer said Harp would likely make a formal announcement after building her campaign team. Thus far, Harp has selected former downtown alder Bitsie Clark as her campaign treasurer and Larcina Wynn — president of Carrington Financial Services, an accounting firm — as deputy treasurer. Clark said she expects Harp will select a campaign manager soon.
“We’re just getting started. I expect things will really get going by the end of the week,” Clark said on Sunday. “We’re hoping to start raising money and have meetings to get people fired up about Toni.”
Clark added that, in addition to public fundraisers such as the Barracuda event, the Harp campaign will also organize private parties to raise funds in the next two weeks. She said she is working to organize such events with the help of Wynn and New Haven attorney James Segaloff — a former member of the transition team that advised Harp after she was elected in 2013.
In her February state of the city address, Harp defended the city’s progress in youth services and economic development under her leadership — two areas of success that will likely be echoed in her campaign. She underscored the city’s efforts to bolster after-school programs to curb youth violence and the development of Downtown Crossing on the old Coliseum site, specifically.
Clark, who was not affiliated with Harp’s 2013 campaign, said her admiration for the mayor has grown since Harp took office.
“I decided that this woman would be great [as mayor],” she said. “We’re lucky to have her.”
Town Chair of the Democratic Party Vincent Mauro said the Democrats were pleased to hear of Harp’s intent to run and looked forward to canvassing for her in the coming months.
Clark said she specifically was impressed with Harp’s gracious attitude toward her opponents in the 2013 general election, adding that she appreciated that Harp did not run a slanderous campaign. She added that she expects Harp to run a similar campaign this year.
In an email early Saturday morning, Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10, Harp’s opponent in the 2013 campaign, told supporters and New Haven residents that he is not planning on entering the mayoral race. He said he plans to keep working as executive director of the New Haven Land Trust, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the city’s environmental health.
“I have thought a lot about this decision and am confident it is the right one,” Elicker wrote. “I am committed to growing the New Haven Land Trust … and feel it would be premature for me to leave the organization at this time.”
In 2013, Harp took 52.5 percent of the vote, beating Elicker by less than 6 percent.
As the incumbent candidate, Harp will run a strong campaign, Mauro said.
Harp’s predecessor, John DeStefano Jr., served 10 consecutive terms before stepping down.