A Bridgeport mayoral contest featuring a comeback attempt by Joseph P. Ganim, the Democrat forced from city hall by his corruption conviction a dozen years ago, tops the list of races to watch today as voters choose chief elected officials in 130 cities and towns.
At the other end of the coastline, former Congressman Rob Simmons, 72, who lost his congressional seat in 2006, is attempting a lower-key return to elective politics as the Republican challenger for first selectman in Stonington, a seaport community of 18,000.
In all, voters go to the polls in 165 of Connecticut’s 169 communities to elect school boards, councils or other municipal office holders. The exceptions are four towns that still hold local elections in May: Andover, Bethany, Woodbridge and Union.
The races are a mix of the bitterly contested and pre-ordained, fights with strictly local consequences, those that could reflect on the potential of municipal officials looking to move up the ladder, and a handful that Republicans hope might be influenced by the unpopularity of the state’s Democratic governor, Dannel P. Malloy.
“Last year’s race was about me, where I beat them by 28,000 votes. They forget that,” Malloy said Monday night after dropping in on workers at Democratic state headquarters in Hartford. “Local elections are just that; they are local elections. Sure, there is a little carry-over flavor from anything that’s going on at any particular point.”
Fairfield tops the list of communities where the GOP hopes to take control of municipal government, said J.R. Romano, the Republican state chairman.
Chris Tymniak, the Republican challenger, has made the prospect of losing a major corporate employer, General Electric, a central element of his challenge to the Democratic first selectman, Michael Tetreau. GE is exploring a move out of state, blaming the state’s business climate and taxes.
Both state parties have supported their Fairfield candidates with mailers and other assistance, even though party officials say they typically can only help at the margins.
“For the most part, all politics is local,” Romano said. “I like to say we’re here to get you from the five-yard line to the goal line.”
Bridgeport and Hartford, respectively the state’s largest city and its capital, will pick new mayors: Both cities’ incumbent mayors lost Democratic primaries in September and will not be on the ballot today.
Malloy to work with ‘whoever is mayor’ in Bridgeport
Malloy backed the loser in the Bridgeport primary, Mayor Bill Finch. He’s made no secret of his discomfort at seeing Ganim, who served seven years in prison on federal racketeering and corruption charges, return to power.
“It’s an unusual election,” Malloy said. “It probably will receive, one way or the other, some national attention for its notoriety. But when the votes are counted, whoever is mayor we’re going to work with.”
Ganim is one of seven mayoral candidates on the ballot in Bridgeport. His two major opponents are Republican Enrique Torres and Mary-Jane Foster, a Democrat running as a petitioning candidate after finishing third in the primary behind Ganim and Finch.
Malloy has no reservations about Luke Bronin, who beat Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra in a Democratic primary and is heavily favored to top a field of four today. Bronin is Malloy’s former general counsel, and the governor intends to visit Bronin’s campaign headquarters today and attend his victory party tonight.
New London will elect a new mayor to succeed Daryl J. Finizio, who lost a Democratic primary to Michael Passero, a city council leader and former city firefighter. The Republican candidate is Raymond Vogel.
In all, there are more than a dozen races where the incumbent lost a primary or chose not to run. Mayor Scott Jackson of Hamden, a Democrat whom Malloy had tapped for some high-profile assignments, is among those not seeking re-election.
At least two Republican local officials who make no secret of their ambitions for statewide office are up for re-election: Mayor Mark D. Boughton of Danbury and First Selectman Timothy M. Herbst of Trumbull.
Boughton, 51, twice a candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, is unopposed for an eighth two-year term.
Herbst, 35, is challenged by Democrat Vicki Tesoro. If Herbst can’t be unseated, Democrats at least hope to keep his vote totals down, perhaps taking a little luster off any future statewide campaign.
Three women, two Democrats and a Republican, will try to convert offices won in upsets two years ago into safe seats with second-term victories today.
In New Britain, Mayor Erin Stewart, 28, a Republican, faces a challenge from John McNamara, the Democratic town chairman. Democrat Anita Dugatto, the first female mayor of Derby, faces Republican Richard P. Dziekan. Julia Pemberton, the first Democrat to lead Redding in a quarter century, is challenged by Republican Eric Witt for first selectman.
GOP urban mayors up for 2nd terms
Stewart is not the only first-term Republican mayor up for re-election in a small city. Others are David S. Cassetti in Ansonia, Ken Cockayne in Bristol and Manny Santos in Meriden.
Mayor Harry W. Rilling, a Democrat who unseated a GOP incumbent two years ago in Norwalk, seeks his second term. Mayor Neil M. O’Leary, a Democrat is favored to win re-election in a four-way race in Waterbury.
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, a Democrat who won an open seat two years ago, has only token opposition.
Celebrating a political anniversary, Malloy described himself as nostalgic: “It was 20 years ago I was elected mayor of Stamford.”
Stamford’s City Hall turned Republican after Malloy chose not to seek re-election as mayor in 2009, the year before he won his first-term as governor. Democrat David Martin regained the mayoralty two years ago. The winner of a four-year term, Martin is not on the ballot this year.
Hit the ‘easy button’ in these races
Democrats have endorsed no candidate for the chief elected official in 28 communities: Cromwell, Danbury, Darien, Durham, Easton, Ellington, Farmington, Franklin, Goshen, Granby, Hampton, Harwinton, Ledyard, Litchfield, New Canaan, Newtown, North Stonington, Plymouth, Preston, Sharon, Wallingford, Warren, Washington, Westbrook, Willington, Wolcott, Woodbury and Woodstock.
Republicans made no endorsement in 18: Barkhamsted, Beacon Falls, Brooklyn, Canaan, Colebrook, Deep River, East Granby, Kent, New Haven, Norfolk, Plainfield, Putnam, Ridgefield, Salisbury, Voluntown, West Haven, Willington and Wolcott.
(A sharp-eyed reader of the above two paragraphs might note that neither major party endorsed a candidate in Willington and Wolcott. That’s not a typo. Both towns have incumbents unaffiliated with a major party: First Selectman Christina Beebe Mailhos of Willington and Mayor Thomas G. Dunn of Wolcott.)
There are also four communities where the major parties have settled on the same candidate.
In Bethlehem, the Democratic first selectman, Leonard J. Assard, was cross-endorsed by the GOP. Three Republican first selectmen, Arthur Brodeur of Eastford, Kevin Skulczyck of Griswold and Ralph F. Eno Jr. of Lyme, were cross-endorsed by Democrats.
Skulczyck is an unexpected choice for a free pass. He is a first-term selectman whose margin of victory two years ago was reported on election night as one vote. A recount gave him a two-vote win, 854 to 852.
And then there’s ‘Mayor Bob’
In Prospect, Mayor Robert J. Chatfield is opposed by a Democrat, Theresa Cocchiola Graveline. But Chatfield has been re-elected every two years since taking office in 1977, two years before the birth of the man expected to be Hartford’s next mayor, 36-year-old Luke Bronin.
|TOWN||OFFICE||DEMOCRATIC||REPUBLICAN||OTHER CANDIDATE (Party)|
|Ansonia||Mayor||Edward J. Adamowski||David S. Cassetti|
|Ashford||First Selectman||Michael J. Zambo||Michael J. Zambo|
|Barkhamsted||First Selectman||Don Stein||No Endorsement|
|Beacon Falls||First Selectman||Christopher J. Bielik||No Endorsement|
|Bethel||First Selectman||Matthew S. Knickerbocker||William I. Duff||Matthew S. Knickerbocker (WF) William I. Duff (I)|
|Bethlehem||First Selectman||Leonard J. Assard||Leonard J. Assard|
|Bolton||First Selectman||Gwen E. Marrion||Robert R. Morra|
|Bozrah||First Selectman||Glenn A. Pianka||Jonathan C. Gilman||Kitty McCue (PC)|
|Branford||First Selectman||Mark Rabinowitz||James B. Cosgrove||Jacey Wyatt (IBV)|
|Bridgeport||Mayor||Joseph P. Ganim||Enrique (Rick) Torres||David Daniels, III (PC) Mary Jane Foster (PC) Christopher J. Taylor (PC) Tony Barr (PC) Charles J. Coviello, Jr. (TNM)|
|Bristol||Mayor||Ellen A. Zoppo-Sassu||Ken Cockayne|
|Brookfield||First Selectman||Steve Dunn||William N. Tinsley|
|Brooklyn||First Selectman||Richard Ives||No Endorsement|
|Canaan||First Selectman||Patricia Allyn Mechare||No Endorsement|
|Canterbury||First Selectman||Kim Kelly||Roy A. Piper|
|Canton||First Selectman||Thomas Sevigney||Leslee Hill|
|Chaplin||First Selectman||Irene Schein||Matthew Cunningham|
|Chester||First Selectman||Lauren S. Gister||Carolyn S. Linn|
|Clinton||First Selectman||William W. Fritz, Jr.||Bruce Farmer||Vin Cimino (CFP)|
|Colchester||First Selectman||Kurt Frantzen||Art Shiloski|
|Colebrook||First Selectman||Thomas D. McKeon||No Endorsement|
|Cornwall||First Selectman||Gordon Ridgway||K.C. Baird|
|Cromwell||Mayor||No Endorsement||Enzo Faienza|
|Danbury||Mayor||No Endorsement||Mark D. Boughton|
|Darien||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Jayme J. Stevenson||Robert A. Werner (PC) Christian Noe (PC)|
|Deep River||First Selectman||Richard H. Smith||No Endorsement|
|Derby||Mayor||Anita Dugatto||Richard P. Dziekan|
|Durham||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Laura L. Francis|
|Eastford||First Selectman||Arthur Brodeur||Arthur Brodeur|
|East Granby||First Selectman||James M. Hayden||No Endorsement|
|East Haddam||First Selectman||Mark B. Walter||Edmund Gubbins|
|East Hartford||Mayor||Marcia A. Leclerc||Tom Ogar|
|East Haven||Mayor||Michael P. Speer||Joseph Maturo, Jr.||Salvatore R. Maltese (I)|
|East Lyme||First Selectman||Steve Carpenteri||Mark C. Nickerson|
|East Windsor||First Selectman||Denise Menard||Robert L. Maynard|
|Easton||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Adam Dunsby|
|Ellington||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Lori L. Spielman|
|Essex||First Selectman||Norman N. Needleman||Bruce Glowac|
|Fairfield||First Selectman||Michael C. Tetreau||Christopher Tymniak||Christopher Tymniak (I)|
|Farmington||Chairman of the Town Council||No Endorsement||Nancy Nickerson|
|Franklin||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Richard L. Matters|
|Goshen||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Robert P. Valentine|
|Granby||First Selectman||No Endorsement||B. Scott Kuhnly|
|Greenwich||First Selectman||Frank Farricker||Peter J. Tesei||James C. Reilly (PC)|
|Griswold||First Selectman||Kevin Skulczyck||Kevin Skulczyck|
|Haddam||First Selectman||Melissa J. Schlag||Lizz Milardo|
|Hamden||Mayor||Curt Balzano Leng||Bob Anthony|
|Hampton||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Allan R. Cahill|
|Hartford||Mayor||Luke Bronin||Theodore T. Cannon||Joel Cruz, Jr. (PC) Patrice Smith (PC)|
|Hartland||First Selectman||Wade E. Cole||Christopher Gust|
|Harwinton||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Michael R. Criss|
|Kent||First Selectman||Bruce K. Adams||No Endorsement|
|Killingworth||First Selectman||Catherine Iino||Robert Drew||Blaine G. Isakson (KC)|
|Lebanon||First Selectman||Stephen F. Salisbury||Betsy Petrie||Barbara A. Griffin (PC)|
|Ledyard||Mayor||No Endorsement||Michael Finkelstein|
|Lisbon||First Selectman||Jeremiah E. Shea||Thomas W. Sparkman|
|Litchfield||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Leo Paul, Jr.|
|Lyme||First Selectman||Ralph F. Eno, Jr.||Ralph F. Eno, Jr.|
|Madison||First Selectman||Joan Walker||Thomas Banisch|
|Marlborough||First Selectman||Amy J. Traversa||Catherine D. Gaudinski|
|Meriden||Mayor||Kevin M. Scarpati||Manny Santos|
|Middlebury||First Selectman||Michael J. McCormack||Edward B. St. John|
|Middlefield||First Selectman||Peter T. Neidhart||Edward P. Bailey||Robert K. Johnson (PC)|
|Middletown||Mayor||Daniel T. Drew||Sandra Russo-Driska||Daniel T. Drew (WF)|
|Milford||Mayor||Benjamin Blake||Paula Smith||Paula Smith (MIP)|
|Monroe||First Selectman||Dan Hunsberger||Steve Vavrek|
|Montville||Mayor||Ron McDaniel||Tom McNally|
|Morris||First Selectman||Barbara E. Bongiolatti||Tom Weik|
|Naugatuck||Mayor||N. Warren “Pete” Hess||Tamath K. Rossi|
|New Britain||Mayor||John H. McNamara||Erin E. Stewart||Alfred P. Mayo (PC) John H. McNamara (WF)|
|New Canaan||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Robert E. Mallozzi, III||Michael J. Nowacki (PC)|
|New Fairfield||First Selectman||Theda Lambert||Susan Chapman|
|New Hartford||First Selectman||Mike Companik||Daniel V. Jerram||John M. Burdick (NHU)|
|New Haven||Mayor||Toni J.N. Harp||No Endorsement||Ronald Smith (PC) Sundiata C. Keitazulu (PC)|
|New London||Mayor||Michael Ernest Passero||Raymond Vogel|
|Newington||Mayor||Christopher Banach||Roy Zartarian|
|New Milford||Mayor||David Gronbach||Patricia Murphy|
|Newtown||First Selectman||No Endorsement||E. Patricia Llodra|
|Norfolk||First Selectman||Susan M. Dyer||No Endorsement||Matthew T. Riiska (PC)|
|North Canaan||First Selectman||Susan J. Clayton||Douglas E. Humes, Jr.|
|North Haven||First Selectman||John Joseph Bimonte||Michael J. Freda|
|North Stonington||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Shawn P. Murphy||Robert L. Testa (PC)|
|Norwalk||Mayor||Harry W. Rilling||Kelly L. Straniti||Harry W. Rilling (WF)|
|Old Lyme||First Selectman||Bonnie Reemsnyder||Catherine Carter|
|Old Saybrook||First Selectman||J. Colin Heffernan||Carl P. Fortuna, Jr.|
|Orange||First Selectman||Ken Lenz||James M. Zeoli|
|Oxford||First Selectman||Kathy Johnson||George R. Temple|
|Plainfield||First Selectman||Paul E. Sweet||No Endorsement|
|Plymouth||Mayor||No Endorsement||David V. Merchant||William A. Heering (PC)|
|Pomfret||First Selectman||Maureen Nicholson||Craig Baldwin|
|Portland||First Selectman||Susan S. Bransfield||Daniel P. Colby||Lambros Lambrinides (AI)|
|Preston||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Robert M. Congdon|
|Prospect||Mayor||Theresa Cocchiola Graveline||Robert J. Chatfield|
|Putnam||Mayor||Anthony P. Falzarano||No Endorsement|
|Redding||First Selectman||Julia Pemberton||Eric Witt|
|Ridgefield||First Selectman||Rudolph P. Marconi||No Endorsement||Rudolph P. Marconi (I)|
|Rocky Hill||Mayor||Claudia Baio||Henry Vasel|
|Salem||First Selectman||Kevin Lyden||Ed Chmielewski|
|Salisbury||First Selectman||Curtis Rand||No Endorsement|
|Scotland||First Selectman||Daniel D. Syme||Daniel D. Syme|
|Seymour||First Selectman||Zani Imetovski||W. Kurt Miller|
|Sharon||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Brent M. Colley|
|Shelton||Mayor||Michele B. Bialek||Mark A. Lauretti|
|Sherman||First Selectman||Donald Lowe||Clay Cope|
|Simsbury||First Selectman||Lisa Heavner||Philip Purciello||Robert H. Kalechman (PC) Joan Coe (PC)|
|Somers||First Selectman||Timothy R. Potrikus||Lisa Pellegrini||Linda Louise LaCasse (PC)|
|Southbury||First Selectman||Ed Edelson||Jeff Manville|
|Sprague||First Selectman||Catherine A. Osten||Dennison Allen|
|Stafford||First Selectman||Tony Frassinelli||Richard L. Shuck, Jr.||Tony Frassinelli (OP)|
|Stonington||First Selectman||George A. Crouse, Jr.||Rob Simmons|
|Suffield||First Selectman||Melissa Mack||Edward G. McAnaney|
|Thomaston||First Selectman||William N. Gloade||Edmond V. Mone|
|Thompson||First Selectman||Kenneth L. Beausoleil||Stephen L. Herbert Sr.|
|Trumbull||First Selectman||Vicki Tesoro||Timothy M. Herbst|
|Vernon||Mayor||Teri-Lynn Rogers||Dan Champagne|
|Voluntown||First Selectman||Robert Sirpenski||No Endorsement|
|Wallingford||Mayor||No Endorsement||William Dickinson||Donald Robert Kennedy (PC)|
|Warren||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Craig B. Nelson|
|Washington||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Mark Lyon||Deborah L. Forese (PC)|
|Waterbury||Mayor||Neil M. O’Leary||Jose L. Morales||Lawrence V. DePillo (I) Jimmie L. Griffin (PC)|
|Waterford||First Selectman||Peter W. Davis||Daniel M. Steward|
|Westbrook||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Noel Bishop|
|West Haven||Mayor||Edward M. O’Brien||No Endorsement|
|Weston||First Selectman||Gayle Weinstein||Nina Daniel|
|Willington||First Selectman||No Endorsement||No Endorsement||Christina Beebe Mailhos (ASP)|
|Wilton||First Selectman||Deborah McFadden||Lynne Vanderslice|
|Windsor Locks||First Selectman||J. Christopher Kervick||Denise T. Balboni|
|Wolcott||Mayor||No Endorsement||No Endorsement||Thomas G. Dunn (PC) Steven R. Olmstead (PC)|
|Woodbury||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Barbara K. Perkinson||William J. Butterly, Jr. (PC) Sean Murphy (PC)|
|Woodstock||First Selectman||No Endorsement||Allan D. Walker, Jr.|
|* designates incumbent (AI)= American Independent Party (ASP) =A Sentinel Party (CFP) = Clinton First Party (CIP) = Colchester Independent Party (I) = Independent Party (IBV) = Independent Branford Voters Party (KC) = Killingworth Conservative (MIP) = Milford Independent Party (NHU) = New Hartford United Party (OP) = Open Party (RB) = Realistic Balance Party Party (TBL) = The Bottom Line Party (TNM) = The New Movement Party (TP) Trolley Party (WF) = Working Families Party (WTP) = We The People Party ( PC)= Petitioning Candidate|
|( rwic) = registered write-in candidate|