How Hamden Democratic candidates utilized their last day of campaigns

Hannah Mirsky, News Director

Hamden Democratic candidates traveled across the town to different polling sites on the last day of campaigns in their last efforts to connect with voters.

“It’s been good, it’s been crazy,” Hamden Democratic mayoral candidate Peter Cyr said. “We’ve been sort of all over town meeting a lot of people. A lot of people have come up to me that haven’t met me before.”

Democratic mayoral candidate Lauren Garrett says the last day of campaigns and traveling back and forth to all of the polling locations is very energizing.

“It’s been really invigorating,” Garrett said. “It’s been a long day so the energy from the voters is keeping me going.”

Democratic town clerk candidate Karimah Mickens also enjoyed conversing with voters before they went to vote.

“I’m happy,” Mickens said. “It’s really exciting having the opportunity to meet the voters as they are voting.”

With many Hamden residents registered as Democrats, the primary looks to be a determining factor in the November election.

“Hamden is a very Democratic town, thankfully,” Garrett said. “We have 17,000 registered Democrats and 11,000 unaffiliated and about 4,000 Republicans, which means the winner of the Democratic primary will be the next mayor.”

While many Hamden residents are registered, many do not vote. Cyr says the hardest demographic to reach is the infrequent and non-voters who don’t always show up to the primary.

“Only 30% of people vote in municipal elections, that was the 2019 statistic,” Cyr said. “My hardest target is the person who doesn’t vote every single year. Getting that person to recognize that you don’t just vote every four years and that there is an election every single year in your community.”

After votes were counted on Tuesday night, Garrett beat incumbent mayor Curt Balzano Leng and challenger Peter Cyr. Garrett received 2,962 votes, while Leng had 1,497 and Cyr only 853 votes.

Candidates like Garrett feel there needs to be a major change in direction for Hamden and that can be solved with a new mayor.

“We need a new direction in Hamden. We need a mayor with a plan,” Garrett said. “Right now we have over $1.3 billion in debt. We have the most debt per capita of any municipality in the state of Connecticut and no plan to get out of this mess. It is time for us to start reducing our expenses, have a robust economic development plan and a five-year plan that shows us the path forward.”

With hope going into the November election, Garrett says her administration will be fiscally responsible and responsive to tax-payers as she will attempt to decrease the large structural deficits in Hamden.

“Honesty and integrity within our finances,” Garrett said. “I’ve done a lot of work investigating what’s going wrong in Hamden and developing a plan with the Democratic town committee for us to get out of the mess that we are in. So in addition to communicating clearly and accurately our financial needs. I’ve also done a lot of team building and collaboration with Democrats in Hamden to develop a very diverse slate of candidates on slate A.”

Non-Hamden residents at Quinnipiac cannot vote in the general elections, but many decisions made by the mayor affect the students. Garrett says more town development would benefit both Hamden residents and Quinnipiac students.

“I’ve spoken with President Olian and I think that Hamden and Quinnipiac have great potential together,” Garrett said. “I’d like to see more development along Whitney Avenue and really have a nice campus for Quinnipiac. There’s a lot that we can do together and having a mayor who shows up can make it happen.”

Garrett will run against Republican candidate Ron Gambardella and Independent candidate Albert Lotto in the Nov. 2 elections.

Democratic town clerk candidate Mickens also found herself a place in the November elections. The next town clerk will succeed Vera Morrison, who has been in the position for the past 27 years.

“I think that one of the areas that we are going to have to really solve for if I’m elected, is that we are losing someone who has been doing this for over 20 years,” Mickens said. “We’ll have to make sure there is a really good transition plan, make sure we don’t drop anything on the floor.”

Elections for the Hamden elections will be on the general election on Nov. 2.