After a decisive victory at the primary polls against incumbent mayor Toni Harp, Justin Elicker FES’10 SOM’10 will continue to run his campaign through the November general election — regardless of whether his top opponent continues her bid or not.
Elicker, a former alder and nonprofit executive, ran a grassroots, publicly funded campaign against Harp, a three-term incumbent. In the Democratic primary, he won by a landslide, besting Harp by roughly 2,000 votes to win 58 percent of the overall vote. Although Harp’s campaign has not yet announced its next moves, Elicker and his campaign have indicated that they will continue campaigning for the next month and a half.
“We’re gonna run a full campaign,” Gage Frank, Elicker’s campaign manager, told the News in an interview. “We’re going to continue to reach out to eligible voters in the general election … I’m really excited to talk to people about Justin’s message — I think people have been receptive to it.”
Harp, whose primary loss represents her first electoral defeat in a three-decades long career representing the Elm City in various capacities, has yet to announce whether she will run as a third-party challenger to Elicker in the general election. She is the Working Families Party candidate and can choose to run on its line in two months.
Harp’s primary campaign manager, Ed Corey, left the campaign on amicable terms on Monday. He told the News that, at the time of his departure, no decision had been made and that he was not aware of any further developments, directing any questions to Andrea Scott. Scott is a longtime confidante of the mayor who took time off from her post in the Harp administration to serve as deputy treasurer of the Harp campaign this cycle. Scott did not immediately respond to request for comment from the News.
Since he announced his primary in January, Elicker has participated in the city’s public financing initiative, the New Haven Democracy Fund, and will continue to do so in the general election. As part of his participation, his donors are capped lower than the state limit, and the fund will match donations up to eligible thresholds. Elicker’s primary victory marks the most successful publicly funded candidacy in the city’s history. The Democracy Fund allocated an additional $20,000 dollars for his general election effort earlier this week. Frank promised to return the funding if Harp decides to bow out of the race.
If Harp does choose to end her campaign, Elicker will become the de facto 51st Mayor of New Haven. Wendy Hamilton, a local activist, dropped out of the race last week and petitioned to have her name removed from the ballot in support of Elicker. Urn Pendragon, another local activist, will keep her name on the ballot, but has stopped campaigning and never raised money — describing her run primarily as a vehicle for increasing her political voice.
Frank said that Elicker’s success in the primary demonstrates that the campaign has delivered a message that resonates well with voters — one that recognizes the increased inequality and diverging futures that residents face in the city. Elicker has highlighted disparities in the quality of life, education and public health in neighborhoods of need, and called out Yale for inadequate commitment to New Haven. Since his primary victory, he has also reached out to University President Peter Salovey to discuss Yale-New Haven issues. Elicker told the News that the two had a conversation that was “good” but brief.
New Haven’s general elections will be held on Nov. 5.
Angela Xiao | firstname.lastname@example.org