No "Donald Trump" factor in the mostly blue Connecticut during this local election cycle. Republicans won key races in Fairfield and Greenwich on Tuesday, Nov. 5, and retained the mayoral seat in Danbury.
State Republican Chairman J.R. Romano cheered: "These results are nothing less than a stunning shot across the bow for out-of-touch liberal Democrats. . . ."
Regardless of political party, incumbency also proved to be a clear winner on Election Day statewide.
In Danbury, Republican Mayor Mark Boughton, who ran an unsuccessful run for his party’s nomination for governor last year, declared victory for his record 10th two-year term as the city’s CEO. Boughton faced a well-publicized challenge from former City Council President Chris Setaro, a Democrat who matched Boughton in campaign fundraising.
One of the night's apparent upsets took down Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau, a well-known Democrat. About an hour after the polls closed Tuesday, Republican challenger Brenda Kupchick declared victory over Tetreau, who held Fairfield's top elective job for eight years. Tetreau reportedly called Kupchick to concede. The Republican Town Committee said the decision to declare victory was made based on unofficial results given to political party officials.
In the race for Fairfield Selectmen, early results show Republican Thomas Flynn led with 8,925 votes followed by Democrat Nancy Lefkowitz with 8,510 votes. Both appear to have secured seats on the Board of Selectmen. (Tetreau got fewer votes than Flynn or Lefkowitz.) This means the board will continue to be made up of two Republicans and one Democrat. In addition to Tetreau, the current Board of Selectmen included GOP selectmen Chris Tymniak and Ed Bateson: Neither Republican sought re-election. Lefkowitz enjoyed high name recognition from her gun-control advocacy efforts.
Greenwich voters chose Republican Fred Camillo, a native son who has represented the town in the state House of Representatives for the past 11 years, to be their next First Selectman. Overnight results have Camillo defeating Democratic opponent Jill Oberlander, chair of the town finance board: The unofficial tally gave Camillo 10,045 votes to Oberlander’s 7,466. In the selectman’s race, Republican Lauren Rabin topped incumbent Democratic Selectman Sandy Litvack by 9,633 to 7,457 votes.
Greenwich Republicans reversed momentum that Democrats had gained over the past two years. In addition to keeping the First Selectman’s Office and the majority on the Board of Selectmen, Republicans took back control of the Board of Estimate and Taxation as well as the Tax Collector’s office. According to the town, Republicans regained the majority of the BET with a collective vote of 53.512 for the party’s six candidates, far exceeding the collective votes of the Democrats at 41,756.
Popular Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi will retain his seat of 20 years. Marconi, a Democrat, "trumped" his Republican challenger and former Norwalk Mayor Dick Moccia. Marconi led with 4,763 votes to Moccia’s 2,472, according to unofficial early returns on Tuesday night.
New Canaan First Selectman Kevin Moynihan was leading Democratic challenger Craig Donovan, according to early unofficial returns. Nick Williams, Moynihan's GOP running mate, also won re-election to the Board of Selectmen. Incumbent Selectman Kit Devereaux, a Democrat, also was re-elected.
Republicans edged Democrats on the New Canaan Town Council, with the four Republicans Maria Naughton, Stephen J. Karl, Cristina Aguirre-Ross and Michael J. Mauro winning seats. Democrats Robin Bates-Mason and Mark Grzymski also won seats for the Board of Education, Republicans Julie Mackle Reeves, Bob Naughton and Carl W. Gardiner all won seats, as did Democrat Brendan Hayes.
In Darien, Republican First Selectwoman Jayme Stevenson easily won re-election in her race against petitioning candidate Chris Noe, according to unofficial vote returns. Stevenson received more than 90 percent of the vote; She will be joined on the Board of Selectmen by fellow Republicans Christa Sheehan McNamara and Charles "Kip" Koons, who also won on Tuesday.
In Norwalk, Incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling won his fourth term on Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Democratic Town Committee. Rilling, a former police chief, topped unaffiliated candidate Lisa Brinton for the second time, winning 55 percent of the vote. Rilling's supporters shouted “two more years” as the mayor entered the meeting room at the Hilton Garden Inn on Election Night. “In keeping with tradition, I have to say one thing: ‘Wow, wow, wow!’” Rilling told them. “I am so honored and privileged to be elected for a fourth term.”
It was smooth sailing at the top of the ticket in Weston as Democrat Chris Spaulding ran unopposed for First Selectman. Democrat Samantha Nestor and Republican Stephan Grozinger both won seats on the Board of Selectmen, with 1,339 and 1,008 votes, unofficially.
In Wilton, Republican Lynne Vanderslice won another term as First Selectwoman, defeating challenges by Democrat Deb McFadden and petitioning candidate Michael Richard Powers. The GOP won most of the Wilton contests, with some key exceptions: Democrat Ross Tartell took one seat on the Board of Selectmen, and Democrat Mike Kaelin and unaffiliated Chris Stroup, who ran on the Democratic line, will be joining the Board of Finance along with Republican Peter Balderston.
Bridgeport voters were given the go-ahead to vote on Tuesday by the state Supreme Court, re-electing incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim. Three city residents tried to overturn Ganim's Sept. 10 Democratic primary win, citing absentee ballot irregularities. Connecticut’s highest court said on Monday, Nov. 4 that it would delay a ruling on whether to order a new election in Bridgeport. Ganim defeated several write-in candidates.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, a Democrat, prevailed in a six-way race to win a second term.
In one of a few political changes, former New Haven Alderman Justin Elicker defeated incumbent New Haven Mayor Toni Harp. Harp ran as an independent, third-party candidate after losing the Democratic Party primary.