Malloy makes the rounds on a good night for Democrats

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made the rounds Tuesday night, basking in a string of victories by Democrats he had backed with fundraising and other help in mayoral races in Waterbury, New Britain and Middletown.

Neil O’Leary unseated Michael Jarjura in Waterbury, while Dan Drew beat two-term Mayor Sebastian Giuliano in Middletown and state Rep. Tim O’Brien won an open seat in New Britain held by Republican Tim Stewart, who did not seek re-election.

“I’m always proud to be a Democrat, and tonight is a good night for our party,” Malloy said.

Malloy, the first Democratic governor in 20 years, visited all three Democrats on election night. He and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman shared the stage in Waterbury with O’Leary, the former police chief who was appointed by Jarjura, the mayor elected as a Democrat, re-elected as a write-in candidate and defeated as a Republican.

“Good night to be a Democrat,” said Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior adviser. “Good night to be Dan Malloy.”

Democrats also appeared to win control of town halls that had been held by the GOP in Manchester, Milford, Southbury, New London and Chester, said Eric Hyers, the executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party.

“First and foremost, the credit always goes to the candidates and the campaigns they run, but he worked hard for some of these people,” Occhiogrosso said of the governor

In Middletown, Drew won in his second effort against Giuliano, who had unseated a Democrat in 2005.

There were no surprises in the three biggest cities of Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford, where the real races were the Democratic primaries won by the incumbents: Bill Finch, John DeStefano and Pedro Segarra.

DeStefano’s win was his 10th, which will make him New Haven’s longest-serving mayor. Finch was re-elected to a second term in Bridgeport. Segarra, a city council leader who became mayor after Eddie A. Perez resigned after a conviction on corruption charges, won his first full term.

At least one Democratic incumbent appeared to lose: In East Haven, April Capone was apparently edged by Joseph Maturo, the former mayor. There will be an automatic recount.

Jerry Labriola, the Republican state chairman, issued a statement Tuesday night that ignored the GOP losses and revisited the unpopular budget passed by Malloy and the Democratic legislative majority.

“During the past year Connecticut voters have suffered from the largest tax increase in state history, job-killing legislation and the two worst storm responses our state has ever seen,” he said. “Tonight’s results have shown that the time to make a difference is now and it starts with these local elections.”

Labriola’s statement referred to no specific races and was at odds with the night’s results.

Another setback for Republicans came in Hartford, where the Working Families Party captured all three seats set aside for the minority party, shutting out the GOP. The WFP had held two of three seats.

Republicans had cross-endorsed Segarra in hopes of bringing some votes to their line.