It's no surprise that state Sen. Toni Harp ran away with the Democratic primary election for mayor in New Haven Tuesday. But her family's history of tax delinquencies leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Ms. Harp was favored to win. Out of the four candidates, she had the biggest campaign treasury and the most labor support in a city where it counts. She's an effective campaigner with important friends Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy willing to go to bat for her even before Democratic voters spoke in the primary.
She's a former city alderman who has served in the state Senate for 21 years — most recently as co-chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee. She stands to become the first female mayor in the city's long history.
Many of the elements are there for a slam-dunk Harp victory to succeed 20-year Mayor John DeStefano, who, it must be said, will leave New Haven a much healthier and more interesting city than he found it.
Still, it says something disturbing about voters who would reward a candidate whose family's business (now run by Mrs. Harp's son after her husband's death nearly two years ago) is the No. 1 tax delinquent in Connecticut and who herself was slow to pay state income taxes some years ago. It says something disturbing that she denies knowledge of her family's business dealings.
Her primary opponent Justin Elicker has a good resume and arguably would make just as good as mayor as Ms. Harp, if not a better one. Fortunately, he'll get his chance again in November, when he challenges her as an independent on the general election ballot.