Sen. Toni Harp Forced To Petition Onto Ballot After Paperwork Deadline Missed In New Haven Mayor\’s Race

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In a stunning development in an already contentious race, state Sen. Toni Harp was forced Thursday to gather petitions to run for mayor after local Democrats missed a paperwork deadline.

Harp won the mayoral endorsement Tuesday night from the Democratic Town Committee by an overwhelming margin, but her place on the ballot was not automatic after the proper paperwork was not filed by the town committee\’s executive board.

\”They did not get their endorsement paperwork to the city clerk,\’\’ said Av Harris, a spokesman for the Secretary of the State, the state\’s chief elections official. \”The deadline was [Wednesday] at 4 p.m., and they didn’t meet the deadline. So there are no endorsed candidates from the Democratic Party.’’

Under the law, which is Section 9-391, Harp and all the candidates for the board of aldermen needed to have the paperwork filed Wednesday – the day after the town committee\’s vote.

Reacting quickly to the Democratic blunder, Harp\’s campaign sent out an emergency email Thursday with this image near the top:


And then this:


One of Harp\’s other options was that she could have filed a lawsuit to ensure that she would get on the ballot, Harris told Capitol Watch in an interview.

\”There have been cases in the past where people have brought a legal challenge to a decision by a municipal clerk,\’\’ Harris said. \”It’s unclear whether or not that would be a viable remedy to the situation. That’s a decision that they’re going to have to make.’’

Harp\’s campaign manager, Jason Bartlett, says the campaign will not be filing a lawsuit.

Now, Harp will need to gather 2,406 signatures, which represents 5 percent of approximately 48,000 registered Democrats living in New Haven.

And those signatures must be filed on time, too.

“The primary petition deadline is August 7 at 4 p.m., filed with the registrar of voters, not us,\’\’ Harris said Thursday. \”These deadlines are hard deadlines that are spelled out specifically in the state law. The local election administrators have zero discretion under the state law to grant any exceptions that are written into the state law. If they even arrive at 4:01 p.m., under the law, they’re not allowed to accept it. It’s all spelled out by state statute. Some people make the mistake that if it’s postmarked, it’s good enough. The answer is no.’’

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11 thoughts on “Sen. Toni Harp Forced To Petition Onto Ballot After Paperwork Deadline Missed In New Haven Mayor\’s Race

  1. Greg

    Pending: Harp announces the rules don’t apply to her because she didn’t vote for them, thus is entitled to whatever she wants regardless of deadlines or other statutory requirements.

    One would think an experienced politico as herself would know to hit all the routine, mundane paperwork dates and not have them get in the way of any political goals that are her birthright, but apparently her sense of entitlement and disdain for the law say otherwise. Let’s see if the Sec State’s office, despite the hard-line rhetoric of Harris above, mysteriously grants Harp some sort of “favor” that goes unnoticed.

  2. lee

    Democrats are a joke when it comes to laws and regulations. I’m sure the Courant will support her and any Democrat regardless of the facts.

  3. Lawrence

    From the New Haven Independent, same story:

    “The Republican Party also failed to submit the names of its four endorsed aldermanic candidates on time to the clerk’s office. So they, too, will need to petition their ways onto the general-election ballot.”

    So, Greg and lee — Republicans are also a joke, and don’t believe the rules apply to them, correct?

    Or are you just a couple of mindless, fact-challenged right-wingers who swallow and then regurgitate whatever Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity pill you were force-fed that morning??

    1. Greg


      Thank you for the kind words, and i didn’t know Hannity and Limbaugh were involved in New Haven politics. My comment was specific to Harp and not one terribly partisan except for my disdain for the woman. She does indeed believe the rules don’t apply to her by her own words:

      “Harp pointed out that technically the legislature never approved the statutory spending cap and doesn’t have to abide by it, even though it does.

      “We have operated under the statutory spending cap as if it existed when in fact, we didn’t really have to,” Harp said.”

      Oh, and that family business tax cheat gig…yea…about that…ya know, the one she claims to have no knowledge and responsibility for? To answer your question, yes, the republicans who missed the deadline are too morons, and in general, bigger hypocrites as a party than most. But yea, Harp…What’s the platform she’s running on besides a nice story and name recognition?

  4. Lawrence

    It’s a reasonable question, a — does the same criticism apply to the same set of facts. Yes or no? And, if not, why not? Ignorance and partisanship would be the answer, not reason and truth. Your choice.

  5. johngaltwhereru

    “There are no rules here.” “We make them up as we go along.” -Alcee Hastings (D-FL)

    That should be the official motto of the Democratic Party.

  6. DrHunterSThompson


    New haven is doomed. Too bad, cuz it’s a hip city – our only one, except maybe New London.

    Harp really is a joke, think they have figured that out now?


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