Sen. Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, D-Conn., on Saturday endorsed incumbent Mayor Toni Harp, who is seeking a third term this fall.
Blumenthal pledged his support for Harp last weekend before a crowd of about 50 at the headquarters of Local 933, the New Haven Federation of Teachers. In his speech, Blumenthal described the mayor as “a leader of character, conviction and courage … of action, not just words.” He also characterized her as a national spokesperson for immigrants and said her victory in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary — where she is running against Marcus Paca, a former city employee — would be a “national victory.”
“[Blumenthal’s] endorsement means that … the door to Washington is open to the city, and that’s very important,” Harp told the News, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a strong connection between the city and state leaders like Blumenthal.
Blumenthal is the third federal politician to pledge his support for the mayor. U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D–Conn., and Jim Clyburn, D–S.C. and the third ranking member of the House, endorsed Harp at a July 31 event at New Haven’s Varick Memorial AME Zion Church. Junior Sen. Chris Murphy, D–Conn., has not yet endorsed a candidate.
Taylor Thorpe, a field coordinator for Harp’s campaign, said that about 50 city officials, union members and local volunteers canvassed for the mayor prior to Saturday’s endorsement ceremony. Most of those in the crowd Saturday participated in the canvassing push — just one of many the campaign has coordinated over the past weeks, Thorpe said.
Philip Lamothe, a member of the city’s carpenters union and an attendee at Saturday’s event, said that about 15 members of his union knocked on doors and talked with residents on the mayor’s behalf Saturday morning. Carpenters union members canvass for Harp’s campaign every Saturday, according to Lamothe.
“She’s done a good job making sure the projects going up are done safely and correctly,” Lamothe said. “We’re here to make sure she gets re-elected and to continue the forward progress.”
Thorpe said that roughly six unions have endorsed the mayor so far, including the carpenters union and Local 34, a UNITE HERE union that represents clerical workers at Yale.
About 10 city alders came to Saturday’s ceremony. Many of the alders present, including Ward 8 Alder and Local 33 Chair Aaron Greenberg GRD ’18, canvassed for the mayor Saturday morning, according to Ward 6 Alder Dolores Colón, who was also present Saturday.
Local 33, Yale’s graduate student union, has not endorsed the mayor, and Greenberg declined to comment on whether union leadership has discussed doing so. He explained that he was at the rally as a representative of his ward, not of his union. But, he added, he admires the mayor’s support for his union, saying she has “stood by” Local 33.
“As chair of Local 33 and a supporter of the mayor, I think she’s the best choice for working people in the city,” Greenberg said.
Though Thorpe noted that graduate student union members have canvassed for the campaign in past weeks, Greenberg emphasized that members of Local 33 are free to canvass for whomever they please.
Harp has been mayor since 2014.
Jon Greenberg | firstname.lastname@example.org | @JonGreenbergYDN.