Laura Ospina, Contributing Photographer

Six-term incumbent Jeanette Morrison won Tuesday’s Democratic primary election for Ward 22 alder, beating out challenger Anthony Geritano Jr. ’20 with 82.7 percent of the vote. 

The election yielded a decisive victory, even with dramatically lower voter turnout than in 2019 — the last cycle in which the mayoral nomination was concurrently contested in New Haven. Despite strong support for Morrison’s work among New Haveners, voter turnout dropped nearly 40 percent in the ward. 

In the 2019 primary election, 372 New Haveners cast ballots in Ward 22. This year, only 225 out of a total 841 eligible voters — including from undergraduates living in six of Yale’s residential colleges — turned out for Tuesday’s primary.

“The community says that they trust me. You know that those numbers mean trust,” Morrison told the News. 

Morrison, a 30-year Dixwell resident, emphasized the importance of her relationship with these constituents, which she said propelled her to win. Ward 22 includes many of Yale’s residential colleges — including Ezra Stiles, Morse, Timothy Dwight, Silliman, Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges.

Morrison won with 186 votes compared to Geritano’s 34. Five of the ward’s ballots were left blank. Three poll workers inside the Ward 22 polling location at the Wexler-Grant School on Foote Street said there were eight absentee ballots outstanding. 

Geritano, a Yale alumnus, got involved in Dixwell politics following his graduation when he joined the Dixwell Community Management Team. He congratulated Morrison after official results were posted, expressing gratitude for the chance to engage with voters and a desire to remain involved in local politics. 

“I feel like I learned a lot from the process, and I’m just excited to move forward and stay as involved as I can in the city,” Geritano said.

Morrison cited her years-long work on Dixwell Community House, also known as the Q House, as being one of her key accomplishments over her tenure. After its closure in 2003, Morrison collaborated with community leaders and residents to revamp the center for its reopening in 2021. Since then, the Q House has been a fixture of the Dixwell Community. 

Phil Gorski, a Ward 22 resident and Yale professor, told the News he voted for Morrison and for incumbent Mayor Justin Elicker in today’s primaries.

“I’m happy with the job that [Elicker]’s done through a difficult time … COVID dealt a pretty tough hand,” Girskoi said of Elicker. He said that he voted for Morrison in the Ward 22 alder race for “similar reasons.”

Morrison commended her large campaign team for their efforts to inform the public about her work, bring voters to the polls and make constituents’ voices heard.

According to Tenzin Jorden ’25, Ward 22 co-chair for the New Haven Democratic Town Committee, community organizations Students United Now and New Haven Rising helped mobilize support for Morrison’s campaign. Volunteers knocked on doors, drove voters to the polls and guided elderly voters to accessible voting locations. 

Jorden also credited Morrison’s victory to strong support from UNITE HERE unions, including Local 33, 34, 35 and 217. The politically powerful unions represent Yale’s graduate workers, technical and clerical workers, custodial and dining workers and hotel workers in New Haven.

“I was outside for most of the day. A lot of people came specifically because they believed in Jeanette,” Jorden said. “A lot of them know Jeanette on a first-name basis. She’s done a lot of great work.”

Jorden noted that a possible cause of low voter turnout could be attributed to confusion that arose from the latest redistricting cycle. Jorden said that several people who came by the polling location had been moved outside the ward because of redistricting.

Morrison was first elected to represent the Dixwell neighborhood in 2011.

Natasha Khazzam and Laura Ospina contributed reporting.

ZACHARY SURI
KENISHA MAHAJAN