The New Haven Republican Party worked hard last election cycle to prove New Haven is not a one-party city. But despite those efforts, the party finished with no wins.
Three Republican candidates were on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election — John Carlson for Ward 6, Joshua Van Hoesen for Ward 18 and Melissa Papantones for probate judge. Jonathan Wharton, chairman of the New Haven Republican Town Committee, said he believes the Republicans ran “very good campaigns,” despite the fact that all three candidates lost by 3-to-1 margins.
According to Wharton, the New Haven Republican Party held a meeting after the election to address general concerns and discuss future plans. However, he said, the party will take no formal steps until after another meeting in either December or January.
Although fundraising and campaigning went well for the candidates that ran, Wharton said, he wishes more candidates had run. He noted that the party received “positive feedback” from Democrats and Republicans alike on their races.
“They at least appreciated that we did run candidates,” Wharton said.
In October, Carlson told the News he believed voters would disregard political affiliation when voting. According to Carlson, the essentially one-party system in New Haven has led to apathy and caused politicians to take voters for granted.
“One of the problems is [voters] rarely have been given a choice because one party has ruled the city without any challenge at all,” he said in an email to the News.
Jesse Phillips, one of the campaign managers for Mayor Toni Harp’s campaign, said the Republican Party in New Haven still has a “long way to go.” Because the face of the Republican Party is President Donald Trump, Phillips said, generating support for the party is now more difficult than ever.
Despite the state of the party on a national level, Wharton said the New Haven Republicans hope to be involved in gubernatorial and local assembly campaigns in 2018. Local Republican Party meetings are consistently attended by gubernatorial candidates, he said, as well as college students involved in the party.
Wharton said the Southern College Republicans consistently show up to meetings, but that the Yale College Republicans rarely attend.
“They’re usually more concerned about national concerns rather than local concerns,” Wharton said.
The Yale College Republicans did not respond to request for comment.
In the summer before the 2016 election, the Yale College Republicans split into two distinct groups — the Yale College Republicans and the Yale New Republicans — because of disagreements over whether to endorse Trump.
The last Republican alder in New Haven was Ward 18’s Arlene DePino, whose last term ended in 2011.
Ashna Gupta | firstname.lastname@example.org