NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Dr. Karen Dubois-Walton, a Democrat who was challenging Mayor Justin Elicker in the city’s mayoral race, has suspended her campaign. She made the announcement at the Democratic Town Convention Tuesday afternoon.
Throughout her campaign, Dubois-Walton had been a critic of Elm City Mayor Elicker’s leadership. She often pointed to the city’s problems with gun violence, policing and budget cuts.
For her campaign, Walton took a leave of absence from her position at Elm City Communities, where she served as the president of the Housing Authority for New Haven.
She says her decision to suspend her campaign was difficult, but she feels it was the right move for the city and she plans to continue being an engaged citizen.
“What I’ve heard overwhelmingly alongside all of the concerns is that there is also a desire in the city to not make change right now and that’s been hard for me because I see how urgently people in our communities are in pain and are struggling but that doesn’t resonate across the city,” she said. “At this point, we want to do what’s right for the city and that’s what I got into the race for is to do, what’s right. But I think what’s right at this point is to suspend the campaign and not enter into a divisive primary process and let’s move forward.”
Dubois-Walton added she hopes those in her party support the Democratic candidate on the top of that primary ballot, which appears to be Mayor Elicker.
Mayor Justin Elicker has served as the mayor for 19 months. Tuesday night, the New Haven Democratic Town Committee unanimously nominated him as their candidate ahead of the Sept. 14 primary election.
Mayor Elicker said he’s hopeful for the future and he believes he is the leader to help New Haven move forward.
“I think this is an opportunity for the community for folks to voice how they feel about the progress we’re making,” he said. “My hope is that they will recognize the hard work our team is doing and give me a chance to continue leading the city…I love our city. The work that we’ve done in the last year and a half has reaffirmed that for me. It’s not an easy job but at the same time the fact we can make significant improvements to people’s lives keeps driving me.”
He said the following during his endorsement acceptance speech:
“Thank you to the New Haven Democratic Town Committee members for their support of our campaign for re-election. Our team has accomplished so much this past year—keeping our community safe from COVID, increasing funding from the state to keep our taxes in line, investing in re-entry services and the homeless, and more—so that New Haven becomes a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
Dubois-Walton added she hopes her fight resonates with the mayor going forward.
“The mayor of this city has got to be connected to this community and has to lead from a place that recognizes that too many people have been left out,” she said.
She now plans to return to her role at the New Haven Housing Authority.
The general election will take place on Nov. 2, 2021.