NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Justin Elicker’s Democratic mayoral primary election victory on Tuesday could usher in a new era of politics and leadership in New Haven.
The former member of the Board of Alders and non-profit executive defeated Mayor Toni Harp by more than 2,000 votes in a rematch of the 2013 general election that Harp won.
The morning after the decisive primary win, Elicker told News 8’s George Colli that he and his wife would be resting a bit for the day; however, he plans on getting back on the campaign trail on Thursday.
“We’ve worked so hard as a campaign over the last nine months, knocking on doors and talking with so many all people,” said Elicker. “Election time, game day is what’s the real deal, what counts and we were particularly excited about the margin we won by and that neighborhoods around the city voiced they wanted change.”
Elicker received nearly 59% of the vote in handing Harp her first electoral defeat. It’s being called an upset but Elicker said he could feel the momentum growing as primary day grew closer.
“Our numbers were indicating that things were looking really good for us, but at the end of the day, you don’t know until the votes come out,” said Elicker. “We were really excited about it.”
Upper Westville Alder Darryl Brackeen, Jr. was an early supporter of Elicker. He said the Yale graduate is a “man with a plan” and a thoughtful listener.
He expects a real change in City Hall if Elicker can get through the general election.
“First and foremost, we’re going to see transparency,” said Brackeen, Jr. “The doors are going to be wide open and we’re going to see exactly what’s going on particularly with our city’s finances. We’ll also find an active manager who will bring a diverse group of individuals to the table.”
Elicker said he had a short phone call with Harp when she called to concede shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday night. He still doesn’t know if she is planning on running on the Working Families Party line in the general election. Despite the uncertainty, he says he is looking to unite the city after a tough primary.
Despite the uncertainty, he says he is looking to unite the city after a tough primary.
“Mayor Harp has had a strong career and New Haven is ready for change,” said Elicker. “And the most important thing for me being the leader of the city is to bring the people that did not support me into the fold so that we can all make sure that New haven is moving in the right direction.”
New Haven Republicans have not endorsed a candidate to be on the ballot in the general election.