New Haven Mayor\’s Race Marked By Personal Clashes; All 5 Candidates Now Collecting Signatures For Dem Primary

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Two Democrats who were locked in one of the most memorable exchanges of the 2013 campaign season failed to receive any votes this week for mayor in New Haven.

Hillhouse High School principal Kermit Carolina and plumber Sundiata Keitazulu were not nominated at the Democratic Town Committee\’s meeting in the Elm City. State Sen. Toni Harp won the nomination, but the local political world was stunned upon learning that New Haven Democrats failed to file the proper paperwork for Harp and 30 endorsed candidates for the Board of Aldermen.

As a result, Harp now must collect more than 2,400 signatures to gain her place on the ballot. That places her on equal footing with her four opponents, including Yale Law School graduate Henry Fernandez and city alderman Justin Elicker.

Harp had soundly defeated Carolina and Keitazulu, who had engaged in a highly personal clash at the most recent debate. The dust-up started when Keitazulu, a 55-year-old convicted felon and first-time political candidate who served 10 years in prison until 2005 after being convicted of selling cocaine, publicly charged that Carolina did not do a good job in stopping truancy at Hillhouse. He charged that too many students were hanging out on Dixwell Avenue, adding that some students missed as many as 45 school days per year.

As the July 16 debate progressed, the gloves came off in a high-octane battle.

“I never knew that Mr. Carolina implemented a program called ‘Don’t come to school. I got you covered,’ ” Keitazulu said as some members of the crowd murmured and started to laugh. Harp smiled and looked surprised by the comments, but did not say anything.

Carolina then grabbed his microphone and ripped into Keitazulu.

“I hope they’re paying you well, brother, for selling out like this,” Carolina responded. “I really hope they’re paying you well, brother. I really do. Because brother, I’ve been very respectful of you up until this point. But all I’m going to say is this, real plain and simple. I know your daughter went to Hillhouse. I don’t know when was the last time I saw you there, and I’m going to leave it at that.\’\’

“You know my daughter went to Hillhouse, but she was taught she could go to school when she want,” Keitazulu countered. ”Nobody sold me out. I’m not saying nothing that hasn’t been said by yourself, but at the same time we cannot keep telling our kids to be irresponsible.”

“I thought you were her parent,” Carolina responded again as he turned to Keitazulu and the rhetoric increased. “I thought you were her parent. When did you shift the responsibility for your daughter? I hope they paid you well, brother.”

Later in the debate, Carolina said, “Brother, I was more of a parent to your child than you were.”

The original question had actually been on a completely different subject. The seemingly innocuous question had been: what is your favorite street in New Haven? That led to the clash when Keitazulu said that Dixwell Avenue was his favorite street but that Hillhouse students were truants along the road. The charge about Hillhouse truancy then led to Carolina\’s response.

Earlier, Carolina said that he remembers the days when there were thriving small businesses on Dixwell Avenue “before people were bought off in the community to support crooked politicians.”

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9 thoughts on “New Haven Mayor\’s Race Marked By Personal Clashes; All 5 Candidates Now Collecting Signatures For Dem Primary

  1. Connecticut is circling the drain

    It warms the heart to see all this rancor.

    Lets see: we have a convicted felon and the largest tax delinquent in the city running. Must be another Democrat primary in Connecticut.

  2. Richard

    Are the Democrats embarrassed a slumlord who is the states largest delinquent taxpayer is their endorsed nominee for New Haven?

    Embarrassed? I thought not.

    If Harp was pushing for a higher minimum wage ($11.00), full employment on demand, and higher SAGA cash payments for individuals (COLA adjusting the 1997 levels and rolling back Rowland’s cuts in eligibility and benefits), then the Democrats would be embarrassed. Exploiting the poor and race mongering for personal profit at the taxpayers expense? That’s the Tonj Harp the Democrats know and love. That Toni Harp has a seat at their table. The Toni Harp who thinks housing vouchers and cash to the recipients are passe?The Toni Harp who believes tax breaks to welfare profiteers is the way to resolve income disparity? That’s the Endorsee!

  3. lee

    It looks like Democrats think it is a badge of honor to be crook, sexual deviate or general slime ball. I watch these politicians like I would any tragic comedy.

    1. fred

      Oh, You must mean a sexual deviate and slime ball like former Republican Mayor of Waterbury Philip Giordano now serving a 37 year sentence for multiple sexual assaults of children under age 13?

      That kind of slime ball?

      1. Connecticut is Circling the Drain

        Nobody is defending that scumbag Fred. Lets talk about the here and now, where no less than 3 slimeball democrats are in the news for sexual improprieties.

        There is scum on both sides of the aisle, but the Democrats seem to push the limits with their politicians before they throw them under the bus. The bar is being set lower and lower.

        1. billy boggs - not circling the drain

          No Drain. You always reduce this to a partisan divide. If this is your mode, than accept the Waterbury republican scum ball as fodder as you have with democratic scum balls.

  4. DrHunterSThompson

    It’s all very funny and would be even funnier if the republicans had a candidate that could swoop in and save the day. New Haven is doomed.

    But there is good news for the state! Harp is gone!


  5. Richard

    Harp gone? Not a chance!

    This is the Democrats time to put an authentic Democrat in office. A slumlord, the leading tax scofflaw, a social services profiteer, someone who pays lip service to improving the inner cities while race mongering.

    The Democrats won’t miss this chance at greatness. Its a defining moment of clarity and honesty.

  6. ccbeachcomber

    Democrats on the whole are genuinely miserable people and Toni Harp is the poster person for what is wrong with the state of CT. That a group of Democrats would nominate her for mayor of New Haven demonstrates a shocking deterioration of morals, ethics, intelligence and reality in a political environment that is only good, or profitable, for those elected, the public be damned.

    On the other hand, if the Democrats have such a stranglehold on CT, why not let other Democrats run for office? Certainly, any Democrat that can breathe will win in this state, right? Why do we see the same god awful, corrupt candiates running desperately to be elected? Seems blatantly obvious these Democrats are really not who they say they are; merely looters of prosperity and the middle class via haphazard, secret legislation.

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