Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19, an unaffiliated candidate who is running unopposed for Ward 1 alder, was endorsed Monday by both the Connecticut Young Democrats and the Yale College Republicans.
In separate statements, the groups praised Catalbasoglu’s leadership and his connection to both Yale and New Haven. Catalbasoglu said the endorsements are especially remarkable because partisanship is not prevalent in municipal politics. As the election approaches, he said he plans to continue working to communicate his message to New Haven residents and Yale students alike, even though the race is uncontested.
“For the Connecticut Young Democrats and the Yale College Republicans to put aside party ideology and get to solving the issue at hand is something I have been trying to do since day one,” Catalbasoglu said. “I didn’t want a letter next to my name to deter anyone from getting involved.”
A registered Democrat, Catalbasoglu said he has been in talks with the Yale College Democrats, as well as the Yale College Republicans and the Connecticut Young Democrats.
Keerthana Annamaneni ’20, communications director for the Dems, told the News that the group has not made a decision regarding an endorsement for Catalbasoglu.
“We traditionally endorse democrats, not independents, but are open to endorsing independents who share our values,” she said. “We plan to hold an open Q&A with Haci and our members, and will make a decision about whether to consider an endorsement afterwards.”
A New Haven native, Catalbasoglu said he decided to run as an independent partly because that allowed him to bypass the party primary process, giving him more time to “get the word out.”
In a statement, Benjamin Zollinger ’19, president of the Yale College Republicans, cited Catalbasoglu’s experience as a Republican campaign volunteer as well as his involvement in the Buckley Program as motivation for the Yale College Republicans’ endorsement.
For Zollinger, Catalbasoglu represents fiscally conservative, pro-business policies that stands out from those of the rest of the board, which he said is controlled by unions.
“Having a current Yale student sit on the Board of Alders will help grant a voice to the Yale students against the New Haven union political machine,” Zollinger said.
The Connecticut Young Democrats are composed of charters from different city centers. Their mission is to help young Democrats run for office in Connecticut.
Ben Klein, president of the Greater New Haven Young Democrats, said the group chose to endorse Catalbasoglu because he is “always ready to step up and lend a hand” as he learns to “delicately balance the town-gown relationship as both a Connecticut local and a Yale student.”
Over the summer, Catalbasoglu said he spent time at both greater New Haven Democrat meetings and Connecticut Young Democrats meetings, even helping to host the Connecticut Young Democrats at one meeting.
Elections for the Board of Alders will be held on Nov. 7.
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