Dozens of New Haven city government positions — including the mayor’s job, a Board of Education position and all 30 seats on the Board of Alders — are up for election on Tuesday.
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp will be running for her third term against independent candidate Marcus Paca, a former city employee who ran against Harp in the Democratic primary after she fired him this year. Of the 30 aldermanic races, eight are contested — but only two feature Republican candidates. Yale students will have the opportunity to vote in the Ward 1 election and the mayoral race between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m at the New Haven Free Public Library.
“My concern is getting people out there to vote,” said Ward 2 Alder Frank Douglas. “I’m trying to urge or convince people to vote in the city they reside in. Some people don’t understand the process, but they need to understand the process if they are going to live here for a year or two years.”
Yale is divided between two Wards. Ward 1, whose current alder is Sarah Eidelson ’12, includes eight of Yale’s 14 residential colleges, while Ward 22, whose alder is Jeanette Morrison, includes the remaining six — Silliman, Timothy Dwight, Stiles, Morse, Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray.
Eidelson is not running for re-election this year. Instead, she will be succeeded by independent candidate Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19, who is running uncontested.
Although he does not have an opponent, Catalbasoglu told the News that not getting enough votes might threaten his legitimacy on the Board of Alders. At a rally on Sunday, Catalbasoglu said that if he fails to accumulate a significant number of votes, it would show how little “Yalies care about the city.”
The Yale College Democrats criticized Catalbasoglu earlier this week for a lack of concrete policy proposals. Still, in a public Facebook post, Fish Stark ’17, who lost to Eidelson two years ago in the Democratic primary, applauded Catalbasoglu for his devotion to the city and “clear stance on sanctuary cities, economic development, public transit and homelessness.”
Stark urged Yale students to vote tomorrow, both to support Catalbasoglu and to re-elect Mayor Toni Harp.
Harp’s race is technically still contested, although opposing candidate Marcus Paca suspended campaign operations last month and was crushed by the incumbent in the Democratic primary.
Despite the virtual certainty of the mayor’s re-election, mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer said Harp encourages all registered voters to participate and “recognizes these elections as a basic component of our democratic process.”
Despite his previous defeat, Paca told the News that he is “very optimistic” about the election.
“I am offering a new, progressive vision for New Haven free of old favors and machine politics that have eroded confidence in government,” Paca said. “I hope students will visit my website, familiarize themselves with my platform and vote for progress.”
City and student groups have tried in recent weeks to encourage Yale students to vote in the election. But several undergraduates interviewed by the News said they did not feel familiar enough with city politics to vote.
“I stayed registered to vote in my home state, Baltimore, Maryland, because I know what’s going on there much better than what’s going on in New Haven,” said Leah Smith ’20, who added she felt unqualified to judge what is best for city residents.
Elsewhere in the city, Edward Joyner, president of the New Haven Board of Education, will run in a contested race for re-election tomorrow against Republican challenger Kate Adams. The school board election comes amid turmoil within the board of education and a stalled search for a new superintendent that has dragged on for months.
Joyner told the News on Monday night that he is not worried about the election because he will continue to serve the city either as a member of the board of education or as a veteran educator.
In Ward 6, challenger John Carlson, a fourth-grade teacher at John Winthrop Elementary School in Bridgeport, is running against Democratic incumbent Dolores Colón ’91, who has represented the ward since 2001. Colón told the News there is a lot of work to be done after the election, noting that the state and the city are “severely lacking in funds.”
“There are lots of things to finish in our neighborhood,” Colón said. “There are a lots of things to finish in New Haven.”
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