NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – It was a hotly contested primary in New Haven and ended with a pretty convincing upset win.
On Tuesday night, Democratic challenger, Justin Elicker, knocked off three-term Mayor Toni Harp.
Six years ago, Elicker and Harp squared off in their first mayor’s race, and after coming out on the losing end, Elicker said he didn’t see the results as a failure, just that there was more work to be done.
Even with Tuesday night’s big win and city hall in his sights, he said he’s not finished yet.
Elicker and his supporters celebrated a big win over Harp, and a day later, it’s still sinking in.
“It’s been really exciting. We’ve been knocking on doors for months and months, but at the end of the day, you never know,” Elicker said.
To put this upset in perspective, in more than 30 years in politics, going back to her time on the Board of Alders, the State Senate, and the last six years as mayor, Harp never lost an election until Tuesday night.
Elicker outpaced the mayor, coming away with more than 58 percent of the vote.
“I think there’s two things that are important, both the margin and the fact that there was broad support across the city. In every neighborhood there were people excited for change and that sends a message that New Haven residents want something new, want something different,” Elicker said.
IN 2013, Harp and Elicker squared off with Elicker losing the general election by roughly 1,900 votes. But Tuesday night, the political rematch saw the results reversed.
Elicker said not only is he different, now a father of two young girls, but so is the Elm City. He points to a thriving downtown, but neighborhoods where residents live are still struggling.
“This seemed like a good time for me to run, both because New Haven is ready for change and I’m ready to lead,” Elicker said.
There’s still November’s general election, and a possible rematch with Harp, who could potentially run on the Working Families party line.
“We still have to work very hard to win this thing. The path for her to win this thing is very narrow given the margins, but we need to take it seriously and we’re continue working hard to do that,” Elicker said.
Channel 3 reached out to Harp’s office for a comment and was told she had meetings out of the office and no public appearances.
As for the spot on the Working Families party line, Harp has not said whether or not she will run.