Mackenzie Hawkins

Just a week prior to the general election, Democratic nominee for mayor Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 hosted a fundraiser on Tuesday with Ward 27 Alder and Majority Leader Richard Furlow.

The fundraiser marks Elicker’s second event organized to highlight Democratic unity. Last week, Elicker hosted a slew of prominent local, state and federal politicians at his campaign offices on Whalley Ave. He is vying for the Elm City’s top executive office, hoping to unseat three-term incumbent Toni Harp, who recently reignited her temporarily suspended mayoral campaign. Elicker, who bested Harp by 16 points in September’s primary election, is hoping for a similarly decisive victory next Tuesday so that the city can come together and move on from what has been a contentious race thus far.

“It’s looking pretty good for this campaign, but it needs to look really good, because this election — and the results next Tuesday — need to be a resounding victory to show that the divisive political rhetoric has no place in this city,” Elicker told approximately 40 attendees on Tuesday. “New Haven is ready to … come back together to address the issues that are really important to people.”

The fundraiser added to Elicker’s totals for this filing period. Donations for Harp’s challenger amounted to around $52,000, while the current mayor raised just under $20,000. To date, Elicker’s campaign has raised nearly $400,000; Harp’s, around $250,000.

At the event, Elicker thanked the attendees and emphasized that their support is important over the next week and even more important in the weeks following as he transitions, if elected on Tuesday, from campaigning to governing. The crowd included Furlow, Ward 10 Alder Anna M. Festa, Ward 7 Alder Abigail Roth ’90 LAW ’94, State Rep. Patricia Dillon and several former alders.

At the event, Festa acknowledged the diverse set of challenges that face her ward and the city and underscored the need for unity. Furlow told attendees that he is giving Elicker his “full support” not just because he is the Democratic nominee, but because he is the right person for the job at this point in New Haven’s history.

“I will work with him — arm in arm — to make sure that he is the best mayor for our city,” Furlow said. “If he does well, we’re all gonna do well.”

This show of Democratic unity follows a hotly contested primary and general election season. Elicker and Harp have exchanged public blows over a range of topics, including charges of corruption and mismanagement in the Harp administration. For her part, Harp has compared Elicker to Trump in attack ads and accused his wife of initiating an FBI probe into her administration. Harp originally ran as a Democrat but is now the Working Families Party candidate, and many of her longtime supporters have transitioned to back Elicker in the months since the primary.

The general election will be held on Nov. 5.

Mackenzie Hawkins |

Correction, Oct. 31: A previous version of this article stated that Toni Harp raised just under $19,000. In fact, she raised just under $20,000.

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.