Mayor Justin Elicker gets a hug from his daughter while his wife claps and smiles nearby.
Mayor Justin Elicker hugs his daughter, Molly, while his wife, Natalie Elicker, claps in celebration of his win on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at a watch party for his re-election campaign at BAR New Haven. Elicker won the Democratic primary Tuesday. Ginny Monk /

This story has been updated.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker won the Democratic primary Tuesday night, beating Liam Brennan and solidifying his position on the ballot for the general election in November.

Elicker’s name will appear on the Working Families Party line as well as the Democratic Party Line in the November election. Elicker, an East Rock neighborhood resident, is running for his third term as New Haven’s mayor.

“We can only persevere if we do so together,” Elicker said, addressing supporters gathered Tuesday night. “And because we have worked not just today, but for the past four years together, we have accomplished so so much.”

He spoke about his administration’s work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, improve public safety and increase the amount of affordable housing.

He previously served as a city alder, and has secured the support of many of the state’s top Democrats, including Gov. Ned Lamont. 

Early results showed Elicker winning handily, according to the New Haven Independent. Final results will be available from the Connecticut Secretary of the State.

Elicker and Democratic Town Committee Chair Vincent Mauro Jr. said that Elicker had more than 70% of Democratic votes cast and had won in all of the voting wards.

Elicker has pledged to continue the work started under his administration, including strengthening a crisis team that sends social workers to certain emergency calls, initiatives to improve public transportation, increasing affordable housing supply and bolstering school budgets.

Brennan, a Westville neighborhood resident, is a former Legal Aid attorney and the inspector general in Hartford. He ran on plans to improve housing affordability, enact criminal justice reform and establish a more equitable city budget.

Brennan said in an interview Tuesday that he is glad the campaign drew more attention to housing affordability. He said it was central to the campaign.

“Although we didn’t get a win today, I think we got a win in public discourse,” Brennan said.

Elicker said Brennan called him to congratulate him Tuesday night.

“Liam called me not too long ago and congratulated me on our victory here today,” Elicker said. “I’m grateful that he threw his hat in this race and ran a spirited campaign, and we talked about working together in the future to help serve our city and improve our state.”

Elicker will face Republican Tom Goldenberg, whose name will appear on the GOP and Independent Party lines. Two candidates have filed to run independent of a political party: Wendy Hamilton and Mayce Torres.

Goldenberg was initially vying to have his name on both the Democrat and Republican tickets, but didn’t garner enough signatures to enter the Democratic primary.

Shafiq Abdussabur, a former police sergeant and alderman, also tried for the Democratic primary but didn’t get enough signatures. He responded by filing a lawsuit, which a judge dismissed. Abdussabur announced last week that he wouldn’t run unaffiliated and dropped out of the race.

Last weekend, Elicker held a rally with many of the state’s top Democrats, including Gov. Ned Lamont, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, state Treasurer Erick Russell, and state Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Martin Looney.

Under Elicker’s administration, New Haven has strengthened its fair rent commission. He’s also overseen much of the spending of federal COVID relief dollars and the city’s response to the pandemic. Yale has increased its contributions to the city through a deal with Elicker.

But his administration has not been without controversy. He faced criticism for the city’s handling of the Randy Cox police case. Attorneys for Cox, a Black man who was left paralyzed from the chest down last year after he was hurled around the back of a local police van with no seatbelts, said the administration had moved too slowly.

The city later settled with Cox for a historic $45 million. The city also faced criticism for clearing out a homeless encampment off Ella T. Grasso Boulevard earlier this year.

Supporters, which included many local and state politicians, attended the incumbent’s watch party at BAR New Haven, which was crowded with supporters Tuesday night. The mood was energetic and the mashed potato pizza went fast.

Elicker pointed out his support from labor unions and his administration’s moves to support tenant unions in New Haven. He also thanked supporters for their work and donations through the campaign while encouraging them to keep pushing toward the general election.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker speaks at a lectern with a Re-Elect Justin Elicker sign in front of him.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker addresses supporters on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at BAR New Haven following his Democratic primary win in his race to serve a third term as mayor. Ginny Monk /

“We have done so many things together,” Elicker said. “And let’s be clear that tonight is not … the final victory. Because guess what, we’ve got a campaign that goes through November and we have a candidate that is on the Republican ticket who is out there working the doors and we need to keep the fire on.”

Still, he celebrated a substantial victory.

“Thirty out of 30 wards, that’s not too bad,” Mauro said Tuesday.

“Not too shabby,” Elicker replied, just before stepping up to the microphone to talk to supporters.

The general election will take place Nov. 7.

Ginny is CT Mirror's children's issues and housing reporter and a Report for America corps member. She covers a variety of topics ranging from child welfare to affordable housing and zoning. Ginny grew up in Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas' Lemke School of Journalism in 2017. She began her career at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette where she covered housing, homelessness, and juvenile justice on the investigations team. Along the way Ginny was awarded a 2019 Data Fellowship through the Annenberg Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California. She moved to Connecticut in 2021.