If you voted in Fairfield County on Tuesday, Nov. 5, you were asked to elect school board members and various town posts, including selectmen. City mayoral jobs also were on the ballot in Bridgeport, Danbury and Norwalk.
Greenwich residents voted on top town government positions, including first selectman. Similar high-profile elections took place in Fairfield and New Canaan.
In Norwalk, Democratic Mayor Harry Rilling is seeking re-election for his fourth term. He is challenged by Republican Lisa Brinton. Rilling also appears on the Working Families Party line.
In Danbury, Mayor Mark Boughton, 55, faced what may be his toughest challenge in 18 years. The former high school history teacher hadn’t faced a close election since his first run for mayor in 2001, when he beat Democrat Chris Setaro by 139 votes out of more than 14,000 cast.
Setaro came back, more vocal than ever -- hoping to end the Republican mayor’s reign over the city of 85,000. Setaro said the city needs new leadership: "These are not lifetime jobs."
Setaro, an attorney specializing in worker’s compensation law, raised more than $125,000, the first time a Democrat running for mayor in Danbury broke the $100,000 threshold.
Despite holding a 5,000 voter enrollment advantage in Danbury, Democrats have been unable to wrest control of the mayor's seat or the city council majority, where Republicans hold 14 of 21 seats.
Will the so-called "Trump factor" hurt any local Republican candidates? Boughton once joked that he wrote his dog's name on his 2016 presidential ballot, but the mayor later revealed he voted for Donald J. Trump. Setaro said he sensed an "anti-Trump feeling among the electorate."
In Bridgeport, Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim appears to have won re-election -- at least for now -- thanks to court decisions in his primary election battle. Ganim won an initial court victory on Thursday, Oct. 31 that blocked a request for another Democratic primary in the city. A Supreme Court judge ruled on Monday, Nov. 4 that a challenge from three residents will be decided later, meaning Tuesday's election could go forward.
Ganim was the frontrunner in Tuesday's general election since one of his challengers, state Sen. Marilyn Moore, did not have her name on the ballot. Moore launched a write-in campaign, where victory is considered unlikely.
Moore received more votes than Ganim at the polls on Election Day, but a three-to-two advantage among absentee ballot voters gave Ganim a 270-vote primary win.
Attorney Prerna Rao said Monday’s ruling was at least a partial victory for her clients. “We always acknowledged that it was going to be an uphill battle, coming in from the beginning,” Rao said. “The fact is that they’re actually going to be considering some of what we said today.”
Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens, who presided over a month-long trial, said Bridgeport residents succeeded in identifying “very serious election law violations,” but did not prove those violations changed the outcome of the primary. The State Elections Enforcement Commission also is investigating possible absentee ballot irregularities.
In Stamford, there were no top-of-the-ticket races on Tuesday. Democratic Mayor David Martin, who is currently halfway through his second term, was re-elected in 2017. However, Stamford residents select from a large field of candidates for the Board of Education and Board of Finance.
Back to Greenwich, where there are two strong candidates for first selectman: Jill Oberlander served on the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting for six years. After serving on the town's board of estimate and taxation for four years, Oberlander was unanimously elected BET chair in January 2017, a position she holds today.
Fred Camillo has served six terms as state representative for the 151st house district of Greenwich, He served on Greenwich's Representative Town Meeting from 1995 to 2001, and was chairman of the Greenwich Board of Parks & Recreation from 2000 to 2002. He subsequently served as chairman of the Republican Town Committee from 2002 to 2006.
New Canaan witnessed one of its most hotly-contested local elections in decades. Republican First Selectman Kevin Moynihan was challenged by Democrat Craig Donovan. Additionally, selectmen Kit Devereaux, a Democrat, and Nick Williams, a Republican, were up for re-election. After the winner of the First Selectman's race, the next two candidates with the highest vote totals become selectmen.
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