Before Ugonna Eze ’16 can officially seek the position of Ward 1 alder as a Republican candidate — as he plans to do this November — a host of tasks await him.
Eze announced late Wednesday evening that he will run for the seat, one of 30 on the New Haven Board of Alders. He has not yet filed papers with the City Clerk’s Office to run. When he does, he plans to state his intention to run as a Republican. Because he is currently registered as “unaffiliated” in both New Haven and his home state of New York, according to state voting records, he must re-register as a Republican. According to the city’s website, that process can take up to three months.
Further, according to Vincent Mauro, chair of the Democratic Town Committee, Eze must acquire a nomination from the Republican Town Committee — a step he will likely take in the coming months.
“I am running as a Republican because I am one,” Eze said. “Growing up, I saw that many Democratic policies, though well intentioned, had negative effects on the people and neighborhoods they were supposed to help.”
Eze said that while he believes in core Republican ideals such as limited government, he does not agree with the party’s views on racial politics and climate change, for example. Still, he confirmed that he intends to enter the Ward 1 race as a GOP candidate.
Eze will face either incumbent Ward 1 Alder Sarah Eidelson ’12 or challenger Fish Stark ’17. Both are Democrats. Previously, both had committed to running as Independents in November, so as to provide freshmen living in Ward 1 more time to learn about the race. But following Eze’s announcement, the two have opted to face each other in a Sept. 16 Democratic primary.
Eze’s campaign manager, Amalia Halikias ’15, said the team has not yet thought about approaching the Republican Town Committee for a formal nomination.
Members of Eze’s campaign, some of whom are Democrats, emphasized the bipartisan nature of his platform. Reed Dibich ’17, the campaign’s communications director, is a former legislative captain for the Yale College Democrats, and Halikias is the communications director of the Yale College Republicans.
“Ugonna is running a bipartisan campaign and will put forth a bipartisan platform,” Dibich said. “His goal is to raise the level of discourse on campus to transcend party politics.”
Dibich said the three issues that Eze has chosen to focus on — homelessness, education and crime rates — are largely nonpartisan issues.
Eze said that, if elected, he hopes to address city issues with the help of student activism at Yale. For instance, he said he hopes to unite the many student groups on campus who are working towards providing sustainable and affordable housing for New Haven’s homeless population with the Board of Alders.
The campaign team is working to talk to Ward 1 constituents and city leaders to spread their message, Eze said. Halikias added that Eze has met with several city leaders over the past few weeks.
If he qualifies for the Republican party’s nomination, Eze will become one of only a handful of Republican candidates to run in Ward 1 in the past several decades. Most recently, Paul Chandler ’14 ran in 2013. There are currently no Republican alders on the board.
Correction: April 27
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Eze is only the second Republican candidate to run in Ward 1 in the past 20 years when, in fact, Bob Kokta ’00 ran as a Republican in 1997. It also suggested that it would take Eze three months to re-register as a Republican when, in fact, the process can take up to three months. Since this article was published, Eze has re-registered.