The Yale College Democrats planned to launch their campaign activity for incumbent Ward 1 Alder Sarah Eidelson ’12 on Saturday, but their efforts were stalled.
The group had planned to canvass for Eidelson on Saturday, but the event was canceled Friday afternoon when Eidelson learned many of her volunteers wanted to attend a social justice workshop, Dems elections captain Maxwell Ulin ’17 said. Since the Democratic primary, the Eidelson campaign has not held any public formal events. But Republican challenger Ugonna Eze’s ’16 campaign has already held one campaign event on Old Campus to discuss homelessness. Both candidates have been canvassing in the residential colleges.
“I’ve been door-knocking with friends of mine who know people in the suites we are visiting,” Eze said. “It’s important to us that Yalies have a conversation about the race with people they know, rather than with strangers they don’t.”
Though Eidelson cancelled Friday afternoon, the Dems hope to reschedule the canvass for the upcoming week or weekend, Ulin said. As the Eidelson campaign moves closer to election day, the Dems will continue to throw their support behind Eidelson by canvassing and contributing to the candidate’s social media presence, he said.
Though Eidelson defeated Dems member Fish Stark ’17 in the September primary, Ulin said that the Dems fully back her.
“[The Dems] discussed several aspects of how Dems might work in coordination with the campaign to help in her re-election,” Ulin said. “Among them was the idea that Dems might help in a number of issue canvasses planned over the next two weeks by her campaign team.”
As the race moves closer to the November election, both candidates will likely fight for visibility on Yale’s campus, which comprises the majority of Ward 1, said Rafi Bildner ’16, a former volunteer for Stark’s campaign.
Reaching out to students can be difficult, but campus visibility is important for gaining votes in the general election, he added.
“Breaking through [to students] is a challenge and I imagine both campaigns will ramp up substantially in this final month of the election,” Bildner said.
Thirteen of 21 students interviewed said both candidates are equally visible on campus. Of the eight students who said one campaign is more visible than the other, six said Eze has a stronger campus presence.
Several students interviewed noted the influence of social media on the visibility of each candidate. Many students noted that each candidate’s online presence played a large role in their visibility.
Raymond Robinson ’18 said Eze’s campaign seems more visible due to his extensive Facebook presence.
Anna Walton ’16 said that beyond Eze’s Facebook presence, he is a visible figure on campus simply because he is a student.
“I’ve only ever seen Sarah Eidelson twice, and the last time was sophomore year,” Walton said. “The only thing I’ve heard about her campaign really is the accusation that she broke campaign rules.”
Following the Ward 1 Democratic primary, Bildner filed a complaint to the state elections commission alleging that Eidelson’s campaign violated election law. The allegations remain under investigation.
The Dems will also be campaigning for the Democratic candidates in the East Haven and Branford mayoral races and making calls for the Kentucky gubernatorial race this year.