The race for mayor was whittled down in both parties, with one averting a Sept. 12 primary, while the other saw one candidate drop out, opting instead for write-in status in November.
Democrat Dorinda Borer averted a primary last week when it was announced challenger Victor Borras, the current Eighth District Councilman, failed to meet the required number of valid signatures to put himself on the ballot next month. State law requires 5% of the number of voters based on the last election.
Democratic Party Town Chairman Michael Last said Borras’ time was not right, and the party has to rally around its endorsed candidate.
“The West Haven Democratic party is united and behind Dorinda Borer and a very talented and strong slate of candidates. Everyone has the right to run for office, but this was not the right time for Mr. Borras,” Last stated in a press release. “The inability to obtain support for his effort is an indication that the Democrats across the city want unity and they want unity behind our endorsed candidate as she has the experience and leadership skills necessary to capitalize on the tremendous potential in West Haven. It has been decades since the Democratic Party was together and it feels good. I will reach out to Victor soon to invite him to join our growing team.”
The three-way Republican primary was cut down to two this week, as candidate Steven R. Mullins pulled his name from consideration in the primary, but he’s not out of the race.
In a statement this week, Mullins said he was opting to put his name in as a write-in candidate in November, hoping to garner the support of voters who see his vision for the city. The announcement came as a shock as Mullins had more than enough valid signatures to qualify for the primary.
“I have pulled my name out of the Sept. 12 Republican Mayoral Primary. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of registered Republicans in West Haven that signed my primary petition. We exceeded the number required,” the statement read.
He said the decision was based on principle.
“However, as I consider the path forward in my quest to lead West Haven to a brighter future, I have made a thoughtful decision. I have chosen not to run for Mayor on the Republican party line. This decision was not made lightly but is rooted in my vision for a more inclusive and successful West Haven,” read the statement.
He stated the money used toward a primary would be better spent in a dedicated campaign in November.
“With two Republican opponents, self-funded with unlimited financial resources, I find it difficult to spending my citizen donated campaign funds fighting fellow Republicans, when I can spend it fighting the financial mismanagement and corruption that we have seen in the 34 years of Democratic Party rule in West Haven,” the statement read. “In my heart, I believe that West Haven deserves leadership that reflects the entirety of our community. Leadership that listens to and understands the concerns of every citizen, regardless of their background. My commitment to this vision is unwavering. That is why I am asking Westies to support in a different way.”
He encouraged all residents who supported his vision to write in his name on Nov. 7.
“Together, we can transcend political divisions and create a West Haven that embraces progress, equality, and opportunity for all. Let us set an example for the entire nation, showing that real change begins at the grassroots level. Our city’s potential is limitless, and by working together, we can ensure that every resident has the chance to thrive and succeed,” statement read finally.
Republican endorsed candidate Paige Weinstein thanked Mullins for his service, but said the task is to rally behind her to give the city a new start.
“I want to recognize Mr. Mullins’ many years of service to West Haven and wish him luck in his future endeavors,” she said in a statement Monday. “On Sept. 12, Republicans must choose a candidate who will unite the party and lead the GOP team to victory in November. As the only candidate with no ties to City Hall, I will provide a deserved fresh start after decades of mismanagement. Then, on Nov. 7, Westies will have a choice between candidates with connections to past corrupt administrations, or they can turn to Paige,” the statement read.
Barry Lee Cohen, who qualified for the primary with an excess number of signatures was philosophical, but said the move to a write-in campaign was not a good idea.
“Each campaign makes its own decisions based on many factors, including its ability to win a race. Steve’s exit from the race to be a write-in candidate is not helpful in fixing the mess the Democrats created and has lingered for decades,” Cohen said in a statement. “When fellow Republicans actively work to split the general election vote, should it be through a write-in or by forming a new party, it makes our ability to win in November more challenging in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 4.5 to 1.”
Cohen reminded voters of his near success two years ago.
“We saw just two years ago in what was one of the closest races in the entire state when I came within less than a few dozen votes of providing accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency back to City Hall,” he stated.