Mayoral candidate Marcus Paca announced on Sunday night that he will suspend campaign operations, although he intends to remain on the ballot.
After losing the Democratic primary to Mayor Toni Harp last month, Paca decided to run as an independent in the upcoming election on Nov. 7. A former city employee who was fired by Harp last April, Paca told the News on Monday that he has suspended his campaign because he does not think he has enough time left in the election cycle to compete with Harp’s “ability to self-fund her campaign and obtain large donations from special interests and city contractors and employees.” But he said he plans to remain on the ballot and continue to advocate for his vision in New Haven, because “New Haveners deserve a choice in leadership.”
Paca added that he would still encourage residents to vote for him in the upcoming election, noting that the turnout for the Democratic primary was historically low.
In response to Paca’s announcement, one of Harp’s campaign managers, Jesse Phillips, told the News that the mayor will continue pursuing her vision for New Haven.
“So regardless if [Paca] is in or out, we are focused and consistent with voters and looking forward to election day,” Phillips said.
In a Facebook Live video on Monday night with the New Haven-based Moving Target Podcast, Paca noted that his goal is to change the priorities of the city government and attacked Harp for raising money through special interests.
Calling himself a “humanist,” Paca claimed there is “something wrong” with the current political system because he has heard that people have been “intimidated by the current administration.”
In an opinion article he wrote for the New Haven Register on Monday, Paca also attacked the New Haven school system, writing that the public school system is defined by “daily political power grabs and pettiness.”
In the Facebook Live video, Paca discussed the mayoral debate scheduled for tomorrow, which will be moderated by the League of Women Voters. The debate will be held at the Benjamin Jepson Magnet School and is sponsored by the New Haven Democracy Fund.
“According to my knowledge, the mayor is not coming,” Paca said.
He called the mayor’s behavior a “little game that she plays,” saying that for the last two debates Harp told the Paca campaign and the press that she was not going to show up and then appeared at the last minute.
Asked whether Harp would attend the debate, Phillips told the News that the mayor is scheduled as the keynote speaker for the Neighborhood Housing Service’s annual meeting at Anthony’s Ocean View tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., the same time as the debate.
If Harp does not attend the debate, Paca said in the Facebook Live video, “I’m just going to have another opportunity to put my platform out there to express to New Haveners why I deserve and want to be their mayor.”
In addition, he said, whether he wins or loses the election, he plans to continue “to be a positive voice and influencer” in New Haven.
Paca was a one-term alder for Ward 24.
Ashna Gupta | firstname.lastname@example.org