Isaac Yu, Contributing Photographer

With Election Day around the corner, Democratic Party leaders from the federal, state and local levels gathered Saturday morning for one final get-out-the-vote push.

Volunteer canvassers munched on party-provided chicken n’ waffles under a tent set up in the parking lot of the Democratic Town Committee’s headquarters in the heart of the Dixwell neighborhood. Leaders, from state Senate hopeful Jorge Cabrera to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, gave speeches one after another and urged the crowd to knock on as many doors as possible. 

One hundred volunteers were present at the rally and 50 more joined as they headed to the Hill neighborhood in southwest New Haven, according to Democratic Town Committee Chair Vincent Mauro Jr. Additional volunteers were also participating in phone banks from within their residences. 

“We need a surge of excitement and energy to make sure that we have a huge turnout,” Blumenthal told the News. “Trump is likely to try to pull shenanigans if votes are close, so a massive turnout is important all across the country.”

Though Blumenthal is not on the ballot this year, he told the crowd that the importance of this election makes him feel as though he is. Voter turnout, even in traditionally blue areas like New Haven, is vitally important, he said.

Many volunteers were wearing red pins in support of Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who represents Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District. She faces a well-funded Republican challenger this year in one of her toughest races since her election in 1990. Still, DeLauro was focused on her party’s message to voters this election cycle.

“It is the very soul of the nation on the ballot this year,” DeLauro told her supporters. “While we fight the health virus, we need to fight the virus of injustice every single day in our country. We are going to have an agenda that puts people — middle-class families, working families, low-income families, the vulnerable — at the center of what we do.”

Rep. Jim Himes, who represents Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District based in Fairfield County, attended Saturday’s rally in a show of support for DeLauro. He called her the “conscience” of the state’s congressional delegation and told her supporters that their voter outreach campaigns were crucial to keeping her in Congress.

New Haven city officials, including Mayor Justin Elicker and Chairwoman of the Board of Alders Tyisha Walker-Myers, were also present on Saturday.

A DTC press release on Sunday described DeLauro as a “longtime ally of labor unions.” DeLauro and her colleagues have found an ally in the local chapter of UNITE HERE, a national cross-industry union that includes many hotel, food service and airline workers. Saturday’s crowd included multiple union affiliates supporting DeLauro and other Democratic candidates. 

Leaders also highlighted Jorge Cabrera’s race for state Senate in District 17 as a good pickup opportunity for Democrats.

Cabrera, a long-time organizer for a separate union –– United Food and Commercial Workers –– lost his 2018 state Senate race in District 17 by less than 100 votes. 

UNITE HERE Organizing Director Barbara Vereen emphasized the importance of union support in elections, touting the work members of her union have done in battleground states even during an economic downturn. 

“We’ve had a thousand of our members get laid off and lose their jobs,” Vereen said. “But they did not give up — they turned around and knocked on doors because they said the soul of this nation is on the ballot.” 

The DTC headquarters are located at 190 Dixwell Avenue. 

Isaac Yu | isaac.yu@yale.edu