Here are three highlights from politics this week. Election Day brought some big changes to local government.
What happened: Republican Vincent Cervoni is Wallingford’s new mayor. Unofficial election results show Cervoni beating Democratic candidate Riley O’Connell by a vote of 7,713 to 6,676 on Tuesday night. Those numbers do not include absentee ballots.
What you need to know: O’Connell conceded the race shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Democratic headquarters on 144 S. Main St. This was O’Connell’s second try at the town’s top position. Two years ago, he came within a few hundred votes of beating Mayor William Dickinson, who declined to run for re-election after serving for 40 years. Cervoni, who has served on the Town Council since 2009 and has been its chairman since 2014, opted to seek the open seat after Dickinson announced he would not seek re-election.
What’s next: O’Connell encouraged his supporters to keep up the electoral momentum and highlighted the Democrats who landed seats for Board of Education and Town Council.
What happened: A close city clerk race in which Democratic City Councilor and Deputy Mayor Michael Cardona appeared to have a 29-vote edge over Republican incumbent Denise Grandy is headed to a recount.
What you need to know: Cardona received 3,879 votes Tuesday night to Grandy’s 3,850 votes, according to unofficial results. The difference is less than .05 percent of all votes cast in the race, triggering the automatic recount. A close finish in the Board of Education race between Democrats Enileika López-Riddle and Diadette Hernández also triggered an automatic recount following Tuesday’s elections.
What’s next: A date has not been determined to hold the recount. Grandy said she hopes the city clerk recount can be done Monday at the ballot office on Paddock Avenue where all ballots will be recounted and witnessed by both Democratic and Republican registrars and moderators for both parties. Each ballot will be rescanned, but before they put them through, both parties will look at them for anomalies that may require the ballots to be hand-counted instead.
What happened: Voters sent a clear message on Tuesday night, as Democratic challengers ousted several Republican incumbents, according to unofficial results. It was a victory for Row A across the board, from the Town Council to the Board of Education.
What you need to know: Peter Talbot, a longtime representative in District 4, won his at-large bid with the highest total of any candidate, setting the tone for the rest of the evening. Talbot and incumbent Democrat Jim Jinks, who appears to have secured a victory over Republican Tucker Deming, were in a happy mood to see their 7-2 minority flipped to a 6-3 majority in one night. Up the road at Viron Rondo Osteria, where the Republicans gathered in a private room, the mood was one of shock as incumbent Council members David Borowy, Sylvia Nichols, Sandy Pavano and John Milone were not re-elected. Replacing them on the Council will be Democrats A. Fiona Pearson, Deena Allard and Greg Wolff, along with Talbot.
What’s next: The general sense among Republican leaders, including David Veleber, who ran unopposed in the 1st District, and Don Walsh, running unopposed in the 3rd, was that the Democrats had successfully energized their base around recent controversies regarding a proposal to leave Chesprocott Health District some time next year, a new flag policy enacted by the Council this summer limiting what flags can fly on Town-owned property, and even national politics.