“I’m in it to win it,” New Haven Mayor Toni Harp has declared.
Harp made the declaration on The Joe Ugly Show, which aired live Thursday morning on WNHH FM and uglyradio.net.
The incumbent mayor was responding to a question about whether she is actively campaigning for a fourth term in the Nov. 5 general election.
Harp, who lost a Sept. 10 Democratic primary to challenger Justin Elicker by 58-42 percent, will have her name appear on the general election ballot on the Working Families Party line. But she announced ton Sept. 25 that she had “suspended” her campaign. She would not actively campaign, she announced, but she would leave her name on the ballot so people could vote for her if they chose. (Read about that here.)
Her plans have since changed.
“I’m un-suspending it,” Harp said of her campaign.
“Hundreds of people have come and asked me to run. They’ve said they got these negative destructive mailers one after after another all summer with facts that are just not facts. Fake facts.
“And so I have listened to folks who’ve come to me. I have decided I am in it to win it. I’m running.
“I’m running. There’s a ‘People’s Campaign’ out there. There are hundreds of people who are part of that. They think it’s important that my leadership continue because it actually reflects them and the things they want to do in the city. I’m going to respect that. I’m in it to win it. We’re going to work really hard.”
Later Thursday, Harp told the Independent that she does not plan to reopen a campaign office. She does not plan to hire campaign staffers.
Instead, she said, she will rely on both a political action committee that has formed since the primary — that’s the “People’s Campaign” (read about it here) — as well as “others” who will volunteer to knock on doors to try to build support for her third-party reelection bid.
Harp, who has a campaign fundraiser scheduled Sunday at the Woodbridge home of a Yale-New Haven doctor, was asked if she plans to purchase campaign advertising. Her primary campaign featured TV and web commercials as well as direct-mail flyers.
“Not a lot. A lot of it’s going to be people to people. We’ll have some signs. We’ll have people on the doors,” she responded.
Elicker forgoes more public dollars
Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Justin Elicker has decided not to seek or accept public financing in the general election.
Elicker accepted the money during the primary campaign under the auspices of New Haven’s voluntary Democracy Fund, which offers grants and matching funds to candidates who limit individual contributions to $390 (rather than $1,000) and swear off special-interest and political action donations. Harp did not participate in the program.
The Democracy Fund last month had approved a $20,000 general election campaign grant for Elicker.
Even though Elicker’s not accepting more public money, he will continue limiting donations and avoiding the special-interest money, according to campaign manager Gage Frank.
“We do not wish to receive the $20,000 grant,” Gage stated in a written comment. “We have enough support to do our own grassroots fundraising leading up to the November 5th General Election. Our campaign will continue to abide by the Democracy Fund rules.”
Because Elicker is not participating in the program for the general election, the Democracy Fund will not be hosting a candidate debate at which Elicker would need participate as a condition of receiving money, according to Director Alyson Heimer.