Lukas Flippo

Five weeks out from the general election, Democratic nominee for mayor Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 is focusing his campaign efforts on reaching out to all New Haven voters to share his vision for the Elm City.

Three weeks ago, Elicker bested three-term incumbent Mayor Toni Harp in a hotly contested Democratic primary for the city’s top office. Last week, Harp suspended her campaign but announced that she will remain on voters’ ballots in November with the progressive, pro-labor Working Families Party. However, neither the party nor her campaign will actively seek support between now and the general election. With a cleared Democratic field, Elicker is shaping up to be the Elm City’s next mayor. Over the next six weeks, his campaign plans to prioritize voter outreach and expand its efforts to include unaffiliated and Republican voters.

“We’re approaching the general election very much using the same strategies we did for the primary — knocking on doors, having a lot of volunteer groups and members of our team doing phone calling and canvassing,” Elicker said in an interview with the News. “The main difference [between the primary and the general] is that we’re knocking on doors of everyone in this city, not just Democrats … so we’re having conversations with a much larger group of people.”

With Elicker as the endorsed Democrat, the campaign team has grown since the primary. Several longtime Harp supporters — including State Representative Juan Candelaria — have recently pledged their support to Elicker in the general.

In terms of fundraising, Elicker’s campaign will maintain the $390 individual donation limit set by the Democracy Fund, New Haven’s public financing system. However, given that Harp does not plan on actively campaigning for the general, Elicker’s team does not anticipate using the matching funds that come with participation in the program. Individuals who donated $390 in the primary can do so again in the general, as donation limits are reset after each election.

Students have been mobilizing for the Elicker campaign since December 2018, when Yale Students for Elicker President Jacob Malinowski ’20 met with the candidate to express his interest in forming a team of Yalies to engage in campus outreach.

In an interview with the News, Malinowski shared that his group will continue working with Elicker’s general election campaign as well as coordinating with Democratic candidates for Wards 1 and 22 — which house Yale’s campus — between now and November.

Even though Elicker appears the likely victor, he said, “the election’s still important for us to get Yale students to vote, get them engaged and keep them engaged in the city to bridge the Yale-New Haven divide.”

In early September, the Yale College Democrats endorsed Elicker in the Democratic primary, praising his campaign’s transparency and lauding his focus on holding Yale accountable to New Haven. Central to this focus is Elicker’s Blue New Deal, a campaign pledge to negotiate with the University to more than quadruple its voluntary contribution to the Elm City. Yale is tax-exempt per the Connecticut Constitution and pays New Haven $11.5 million annually in lieu of taxes — a sum much smaller than what the University would pay if its property were taxable.

Looking forward to November’s general election, Dems President Timothy White ’20 expressed his excitement about Elicker’s primary victory and told the News that, as a member organization of the Yale Votes coalition, the Dems will work to engage Yale students as New Haven voters in advance of the general election.

The general election will be held on Nov. 5.

Mackenzie Hawkins |

Correction: A previous version of this article referred to Juan Candelaria as a state senator. In fact, he is a state representative. 

Mackenzie is the editor in chief and president of the Managing Board of 2022. She previously covered City Hall for the News, including the 2019 mayoral race and New Haven's early pandemic response. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she is a junior in Trumbull College studying ethics, politics and economics.