The Capitol Beat: November 11-15, 2013

From Gaffney, Bennett & Associates

November 11, 2013 – November 15, 2013

Women candidates had the last word at the polls Tuesday in numerous towns and cities and that was about the closest thing to a pattern that came out of the election.  Below is a brief summary of some of the bigger races.

The five newly elected women mayors are:  Toni Harp (D-New Haven); Anita Dugatto (D-Derby); Deb Hinchey (D-Norwich); Republican Erin Stewart (R-New Britain); and Elinor Carbone (R-Torrington).   Following are highlights of these and other high-profile races:

  • Bristol.  Republican Ken “Mad Dog” Cockayne outpolled Democrat Chris Wilson.  Democrat Art Ward did not run for re-election.
  • Derby.  Anita Dugatto, a Democrat, bumped Republican Mayor Anthony Staffieri from the seat he has held for the past eight years.  Dugatto becomes Derby’s first female mayor.
  • Meriden.  He was supposed to be a “placeholder” candidate, but instead he took it all the way to the finish line, turning a perennial blue, blue-collar city into a Republican beachhead.  Manny Santos accepted the Republican nomination and went on to unseat Democratic incumbent Michael S. Rohde, by all accounts a seasoned politician.
  • New Britain.  Twenty-six-year-old Erin Stewart, championed as a GOP rising star, in a strong and stealthy campaign defeated incumbent Democrat and former State Rep. Tim O’Brien.
  • New Haven.  Longtime State Sen. Toni Harp became the first woman Mayor in New Haven’s 375-year history, defeating hard-charging Independent Justin Elicker.  Something tells us we have not heard the last of him.
  • Norwalk.  Democrat Harry Rilling defeated Republican Richard Moccia in a significant upset.
  • Norwich.  Democratic candidate Deb Hinchey became the city’s first female Mayor, defeating incumbent Republican Peter Nystrom.
  • Stamford.  Democrats returned one of their own – David Martin — to the Mayor’s office, the first time since Governor Malloy was elected to the state’s highest office in 2010.  Republican Mayor Michael Pavia chose not to seek re-election. Martin defeated former Lt. Governor Michael Fedele. Martin served on the local Board of Representatives for 26 years and on the Finance Board.  He ran unsuccessfully for Mayor in 2009.
  • Did You Know…When State Sen. Toni Harp makes her transition to the New Haven Mayor’s office official on January 2, 2014, one of her legislative colleagues in the House, State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield has announced he’d like to be the heir apparent to the 10th State Senate seat.  The special election, which will likely be held in February, will surely attract other candidates, but as of now other House members representing New Haven are keeping a low-profile. State Rep. Toni Walker has indicated she is reticent about giving up the co-chairmanship of the powerful Appropriations Committee, leaving New Haven without representation there.  State Rep. Juan Candelaria also has been quiet about any upwardly mobile moves. Stay tuned.

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