HARTFORD, CT — Justin Elicker beat New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin easily clinched his party’s nomination in Democratic primaries on Tuesday. Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim claimed victory, but the results of that race were close and may still be challenged.
In New Haven, Harp, a politician for 32 years and the city’s first female and second African-American to hold the mayor’s office, has been endorsed by the Working Families Party and could choose to compete in the November election. But it was unclear whether she would go that route Tuesday.
In accepting the Democratic nomination, Elicker said he had worked for six years to get “a government that is accessible to everyone.”
He said that based on the votes, New Haven wants an accessible and ethical city, too.
Despite participating in the Democracy Fund which capped donations at $390 per donor, Elicker raised $301,208 to the $226,398 donated to Harp by Sept. 1. Harp’s donors could give up to $1,000 each because she didn’t participate in public financing.
In Hartford, Bronin easily fended off challenges from former Mayor Eddie Perez, who was trying to make a comeback after facing prosecution for accepting work on his home from a city contractor but serving no prison time, and state Rep. Brandon McGee, who argued that Bronin doesn’t deserve credit for the development the city has been seeing over the past year.
Bronin said he received support from every part of the city because they recognized his administration’s work is just getting started.
He said the city has made investments in neighborhoods and public institutions and has focused heavily on schools.
“For the first time in a long, long time we’ve got companies looking to move to Hartford and innovate right here,” Bronin said.
Bronin made a victory speech at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Polish National Home with his family and his slate of council candidates beside him on the stage.
“I want the city of Hartford to be a strong and vibrant part of this region of more than a million people, and to be a place where everyone in every neighborhood has a share in Hartford’s rise and can find opportunity here,” Bronin said.
Bronin will face J. Stan McCauley, Aaron Lewis, and Giselle Jacobs in the general election.
McCauley, a Democrat who has participated in recent mayoral debates, will be listed on the ballot’s Republican line in November’s election after receiving a cross-endorsement from the Hartford Republican Town Committee. Lewis is an author and entrepreneur, and Jacobs owns and operates Sister Soldier Environmental Services, a Hartford-based cleaning company.
In Bridgeport, Ganim seemed to have lost the machine count by about 370 votes Tuesday night, but he still won the primary by about 300 votes based on absentee ballots, where he outpolled state Sen. Marilyn Moore by a 3-to-1 margin.
Moore had hoped to continue onto the November election as a Working Families Party candidate, but failed to get enough signatures to qualify, according to the Secretary of the State’s office. Moore has promised to challenge that decision.
Ganim was first elected mayor in 1991 and later served seven years in federal prison for corruption related to his position as mayor. In 2015, Ganim ran again and won his old job back by a nearly 2-to-1 margin over his closest opponent.
There were 23 towns with primary elections Tuesday. Republican races were held in Bridgeport, Brooklyn, Colchester, East Haven, Killingworth, Plainfield, Plainville, Preston, Ridgefield, Shelton, Somers, Southbury, Voluntown, and West Haven. Aside from the state’s three largest cities, Democratic primaries also were held in Bloomfield, Hamden, Middletown, Oxford, Stratford, and West Haven.