While Sarah Eidelson ’12 and Fish Stark ’17 prepare to square off in the Ward 1 Democratic primary, candidates in seven other wards are campaigning for primaries across the city.
Eight of the 30 New Haven wards — including wards 1 (Yale), 11 (Fair Haven Heights), 12 (Quinnipiac Meadows), 14 (Fair Haven), 18 (Morris Cove), 20 (Newhallville), 28 (Beaver Hills) and 30 (West Rock) — will have primaries on Sept. 16. Last week, UNITE HERE Local 34, Yale’s technical and office workers’ union, endorsed candidates for six of the eight primaries, excluding Ward 1 and West Rock. Although most alders on the current board were elected after receiving endorsements from Local 34, candidates who did not receive the endorsement said they do not expect the lack of union support to hurt their campaigns.
“I’ve won without an endorsement before, and I will win without an endorsement again,” Beaver Hills Alder Claudette Robinson-Thorpe said.
Robinson-Thorpe said she was not surprised by the union’s decision to not endorse her because her challenger, Jill Marks, is married to the organizing director at UNITE HERE. She added that she believes her commitment to bolstering youth services in Beaver Hills will win her votes.
Quinnipiac Meadows incumbent Richard Spears, who also did not receive the endorsement from Local 34, was similarly unconcerned when Local 34 backed his challenger, Gerald Atunes, who has previously held the alder position.
“I’m not going to be persuaded or bullied by special interests,” Spears said. “And when you take endorsements like that, that’s usually the case.”
He added that endorsements from neighborhood groups such as block watches — with an investment in the community — are still valuable.
Spears said his campaign focuses on ensuring that the concerns of his constituents are heard in board meetings. He said some residents do not have faith in the city government because there is no transparency on where tax dollars are spent in particular neighborhoods.
Incumbent Carlton Staggers is challenged by Robert J. Anderson Jr. in West Rock, a ward where Local 34 chose not to make an endorsement. Staggers said he was not bothered by the lack of endorsement.
The New Haven Independent reported that neither Stark nor Eidelson sought out a union endorsement in Ward 1.
Overall, Local 34 supported the incumbent candidates in Fair Haven Heights, Fair Haven, Morris Cove and Newhallville and the challengers in Quinnipiac Meadows and Beaver Hills. Local 34 could not be reached for comment following their endorsements.
Two candidates who did not receive endorsements are affiliated with UNITE HERE. Eidelson works in graphic design and communications for the union, and Teresa Hines, who is challenging Newhallville alder Delphine Clyburn, is a member of the organization.
Along with Local 34, several alders who are not up for reelection this year have been making their own endorsements. In Ward 1, Stark has received public endorsements from six alders, and Eidelson has received a statement of support from Hill Alder Dolores Colon ’91.
Colon said she generally chooses to support the incumbent candidate and that she supports Eidelson because she has demonstrated strong leadership in youth services through her role as chair of the committee.
The winners of the eight Democratic primaries will participate in the general election on Nov. 4.
Correction: Sept. 3
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Fish Stark ’17 has received endorsements from five alders. He has in fact been endorsed by six alders.