Ryan Chiao

Eli Sabin ’22 will succeed Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19 as Ward 1 Alder come January, after securing an overwhelming victory over Republican Chris Marcisz in Tuesday’s election.

Sabin, a native of East Rock before matriculating at Yale, ran an aggressive campaign that helped push him to victory in the race to represent the ward on the Board of Alders. He won the race decisively, picking up 313 votes to Marcisz’s 25. Ward 1, which encompasses Old Campus and eight of the University’s 14 residential colleges and has historically seen lower voter turnout, reported 339 voters on Tuesday, commanding similar turnout as two years ago but more than September’s primary.

“I’m incredibly excited and grateful and sort of overwhelmed,” Sabin told the News in an interview after his victory. “I’ve spent a lot of time working really hard not only in this campaign but also in the state legislature, on the homeless advisory boards, and in community service organizations fighting for my community and New Haven, and I feel like this election result was a testament to that work.”

Sabin announced his bid for the seat in July, after Catalbasoglu ’19 announced that he would move to New York for graduate school and would not seek a second term. Sabin’s campaign intensified its efforts when Marcisz, a caterer for the Yale society Shabtai, entered the race as a Republican. New Haven is overwhelmingly Democratic — currently, all 30 members of the Board of Alders caucus are with the Democratic Party, and the city has not seen a Republican mayor in more than half a century.

Prior to running for office, Sabin was involved in local Democratic politics. He served on the board of the Yale College Democrats, and in New Haven, was appointed to the Homeless Advisory Commission.

The Board of Alders, New Haven’s legislative arm, works closely with the city’s mayor. Primary responsibilities of alders largely involve constituent and community services. The role and responsibilities of the Ward 1 Alder — so closely tied with Yale’s undergraduate student population that many refer to the seat as the “Yale alder” — differ slightly because the University provides most day-to-day city services for the district, from trash collection to road paving.

Despite his frontrunner status, Sabin ran an aggressive campaign, sounding the alarm on many of his opponent’s policies and “comments that range from offensive to intolerant.” He and his team have also engaged in persistent get out the vote efforts, starting as early as August and continuing through
Tuesday’s election. 

Students who voted for Sabin said they were moved to support him for his sound policies and the fact that, as Matteo Carrabba ’23 said, “seems sincere” in his drive to improve the city. 

“I did my research on him and his program,” Carrabba told the News in an interview. “I think that, being from New Haven, his political orientation seems sincere — I feel like he’ll make an actual effort to make New Haven a better place.”

In addition to housing, jobs, voting and immigration, Sabin’s platform touched on police accountability. Sabin told the News that he would like to strengthen New Haven’s existing practices of community policing and see the full implementation of the Civilian Review Board, a body designed to investigate and address police brutality. 

Sabin also said he was “generally supportive” of disarming Yale police and called for further discussion among New Haven and Yale community members about whether Yale police should carry weapons. Following a YPD-involved shooting last spring, Yalies and New Haveners alike called for accountability in the forms of updated boundaries and potential disarmament of Yale’s police force.

Marcisz, who was briefly present outside of the polls on Tuesday, congratulated Sabin on the victory. He told telling the News in an interview that he was “looking forward to see what [Sabin] does to improve the problems in the ward.”

Sabin is a sophomore in Grace Hopper College.

Claire Fang | claire.fang@yale.edu