With voters set to head to the polls Tuesday, incumbent Sarah Eidelson ’12 and Republican challenger Ugonna Eze ’16 are making their final pushes in the race for Ward 1 alder.
Both campaigns have revved into high gear in the past few days, holding campaign events and blanketing poster boards across campus with flyers. Eze’s campaign has disseminated posters that feature quotes from campus publications that criticize his opponent, but Eidelson has shied away from similar methods. Instead, she has focused on publicizing ways in which Yale can contribute to alleviating some of the city’s problems, such as unemployment. Both campaigns have also run door-to-door canvassing operations over the last week, though Eze’s has been more limited in scope than Eidelson’s. Eze’s campaign manager Mollie Johnson ’18 said his canvassing has involved the candidate going door to door with members of the residential college in which he is canvassing.
Eidelson and her team of volunteers greeted students at an event on Cross Campus Friday, where they displayed campaign postcards filled out by over 600 students. Over the last month, Eidelson volunteers collected the cards, which contain student demands for action from Yale to improve the circumstances of students and New Haven residents alike. Volunteers pasted the cards onto large cardboard letters that read “New Haven,” which they displayed on Cross Campus.
The most common demands on the postcards included eliminating the student income contribution, divesting the endowment from fossil fuels and hiring more New Haven residents, Eidelson said during the event.
Eidelson said throughout her campaign that her team has emphasized the importance of forging connections between students and New Haven outside of Ward 1.
“This campaign is not about just voting on Tuesday,” she said. “It’s about committing to making the kind of New Haven in which we want to live.”
Yale College Democrats Vice President Jacob Wasserman ’16 said the postcard campaign has attracted a diverse group of respondents, noting that even some members of Eze’s campaign team have filled them out.
Eze’s posters, which appeared around campus late last week, contain statements criticizing Eidelson’s campaign and quotations alleging that she has been absent on campus.
“You only see Sarah during an election year between the months of April and November. That’s just a fact,” read a statement from Eidelson’s former treasurer Sterling Johnson ’15 on one of Eze’s posters.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission’s investigation into alleged violations of election law by Eidelson’s team during the primary has also provided fodder for Eze’s campaign. One poster states that, while Eidelson is under investigation, Eze is not.
Eze has held numerous events in recent days. He distributed fried chicken from Popeye’s in Bass Library Sunday night, and his campaign gave out hot chocolate and bagels on Beinecke Plaza Monday.
“I wouldn’t call [the posters] negative [campaigning,]” Eze said Monday. “I think it’s just a statement of fact. For us, it’s important that voters are informed of all relevant facts going into the issues.”
Eidelson said Monday night she will be at the polls all day Tuesday, talking to voters before they cast their ballots while her volunteers go door to door in the residential colleges. She added that her volunteers will encourage voters to come out not only to vote for her, but also for Mayor Toni Harp.
Unlike Eidelson’s campaign, which ran an extensive canvassing operation before September’s primary and will canvass across campus Tuesday, Eze and his team will not go door to door on Election Day. Eze said he has heard complaints about Eidelson’s canvassers, adding that his campaign has attempted to avoid “the tactics of intimidation and harassment Sarah’s been using the last few weeks.”
This type of field operation is meant to avoid being perceived as “overly aggressive,” Mollie Johnson said.
Eze’s former campaign manager Amalia Halikias ’15 said the campaign will rely on an “organic approach” of encouraging voters to talk to their friends. She said campaign volunteers will call their friends throughout the day and encourage them to spread the word.
Voters can cast their ballots today at the New Haven Free Public Library from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Correction, Nov. 3, 2015: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Mollie Johnson and Amalia Halikias were Ugonna Eze’s joint campaign managers. In fact, Halikias is Eze’s former campaign manager, and Mollie Johnson is his current one.