Fall Elections: Swing Towns

Election time is bearing down on us again, and it’s time to dust off the 2005 maps and start thinking about where each of the parties can expect to see gains.
“Top Office” 2005

Council Control 2005
The trend in 2005 was for Republicans to make some gains in more urban and old suburban areas, while Democrats tended to see some success in Fairfield County and small, rural towns. Will that trend continue this year? Where will we see control of a council/board of selectmen or of the town’s top office shift from one party to another?

What do you think? I’m just starting to think about this myself, since it’s a long way off, but I’d like to assemble a list of interesting races to watch and cover.


31 responses to “Fall Elections: Swing Towns

  1. disgruntled_republican

    Of course I am biased but I think Enfield WILL be a race to watch and WILL go from Blue to Red on those neat maps you make. 🙂

  2. East Haven is certainly a town to watch. Democratic councilwoman April Capone-Almon is running against incumbent Mayor Joe Maturo.

  3. newlondoncalling

    A review of races in my neck of the woods (top municipal offices only):

    Old Lyme: Incumbent Tim Griswold (R) vs Bonnie Reemsnyder (D). Third matchup between these two, Griswold won by only 49 (?) votes in ’05. A controversial plan to build a new High School has been the dominant issue in Old Lyme politics this year. Griswold was the only elected official in Old Lyme to oppose the plan, which was rejected by a 2 to 1 margin in a May referendum. Democrats may target this race, due to the closeness of the last election. But I think Griswold will win, and by a wider margin than in ’05.

    East Lyme: One term incumbent Beth Hogan (D) vs Paul Formica (R). Most likely seat to flip parties in my region. Hogan’s had a very tough year: the latest property revaluation has produced a lot of anger in town. Hogan backed (and Formica opposed) a plan for a public safety complex that was crushed 3 to 1 at the polls this March, and the town still does not have a budget–it has been sent to referendum and defeated 3 times. Hard for me to see how Hogan will hold on, but she will have plenty of resources for this race. Expect to see her on the campaign trail with some Democratic heavyweights–Courtney, Blumenthal, maybe Dan Malloy (she was a strong Malloy backer during the primary).

    Salem: Incumbent Larry Reitz (R) vs Bob Ross (D). Democrats have a registration advantage in Salem, and hold 4 of the 5 seats on the Board of Selectmen, but Reitz was popular enough to receive a Democratic cross-endorsement in ’05. Ross is a Navy vet and former Salem resident who recently moved back to town after a few years in Colorado. I believe this is his first run for elected office. It looks like both parties are gearing up for a tight race.

    Waterford: Incumbent Dan Steward (R) vs Bruce Kruszewski (D). This is a rematch of an open seat race from ’05. Waterford is a town with relatively low taxes and few fiscal controversies at the municipal level, thanks to the revenue from the Millstone nuclear power plant. As a consequence, the incumbency advantage in Waterford is enormous. I expect Steward to win in a quiet, low-key race.

  4. Whoa…New London Calling, how ’bout a ‘clampdown’ on the length?

    and on this thread, Mr Steven Miller comes to mind:

    “You know the night is fallin’
    And the music’s callin’
    And we’ve got to get down to swingtown”

    (Swingtown, 1976)

  5. wtfdnucsailor

    Although we may be of different parties, I have to agree with NewLondonCalling’s evaluations of the SE CT races. The only wrinkle in the Waterford Race is the Millstone Tax Decision. It is due in October and, if the Town of Waterford loses, it may have a negative effect on Steward’s campaign. No matter what the decision, I expect the losing side to appeal. Kruszewski has some other issues that he plans to bring out during the campaign which may also make the race closer than NewLondonCalling anticipates. Keep posted to the Waterford Blog to see how things develop.

  6. Derby Conservative

    I think Derby will remain in the hands of the Republican Staffieri administration, but I could be wrong.

    From what I hear, the mayor has shunned former campaign manager and political wunderkund JR Romano in favor of former Mayor and Senate Candidate Alan Schlesinger and his buddy former CT Senate President Pro Temp Phil Robertson…both politcal has-been IMHO.

    If Mr. Staffieri doesn’t wisen up soon and realize that it was Romano and his crew that got him elected in 2005, then the people of Derby could wake up on November 7th to headlines of “Orazietti Takes Derby”.

  7. Derby Conservative

    BTW Genghis, what happened to the Derby Town Blog?

  8. newlondoncalling

    El Kabong–Sorry 🙂

    wtfdnucsailor–I didn’t realize that the Millstone court case is finally reaching an end point, so to speak. You’re right, that could be a wild card in your race.

  9. Don’t be sorry NL Calling – There is nothing wrong with the length – your post is very informative (unlike a lot of other posts).

    Middlefield has a race and a lot of local issues, like Powder Ridge weighing on people’s minds . Republican 1st Selectman Brayshaw apparently has some baggage regarding some appraisal work he did for the town.

    Durham has another close race for first selectman between incumbent Jim McLaughlin (D) and long-time Town Clerk Laura Francis (R). Laura’s always been popular with the voters but the dems are well-organized and working hard.

  10. In East Hartford, look for Mayor Currey(D) to retain her seat and the Republicans to gain 1 Town Council Seat and 2 or 3 Board of Education Seats. Other than this, it will be Democratic business as usual.

  11. Watch the Council races in Danbury. Republicans hold a 14-7 majority but the Democrats are really targeting them. It is going to be very close.

  12. [quote comment=”18393″]East Haven is certainly a town to watch. Democratic councilwoman April Capone-Almon is running against incumbent Mayor Joe Maturo.[/quote]

    I didn’t know there were any Democrats left on the council down in East Haven. I’ll have to catch up on that one.

  13. [quote comment=”18409″]Watch the Council races in Danbury. Republicans hold a 14-7 majority but the Democrats are really targeting them. It is going to be very close.[/quote]

    This one should be interesting to watch…

  14. Another interesting point about the East Lyme race. Dave Funke the former EL Town Finance Director decided that he would rather run as for the Board of Finance than put up with the ineptitude that the 4 Dem’s have displayed during the last 4 years.

    It says a lot about those 4 Dem’s when you are willing to quit your job to take an unpaid position doing essentially the same thing just to make sure they aren’t reelected. Luckily for the town, 3 of the 4 Dems aren’t running again for the BoF.

  15. way2moderate

    Watch for another remarkable development in Middletown. With Segastian Giuliano running upopposed, the local GOP is free to focus its energies on its slate of Council candidates.

    If a coordinated effort develops between Giuliano and his underticket, the republicans may also gain control of the common council. In a city where democrats outnumber republicans by a margin of almost four-to-one, that’s simply astonishing.

  16. Lobsterman_wife

    I think an exciting race to watch also is the Stonington First Selectman race. One and ½ term incumbent Bill Brown (R ) vs. Ed Haberek (D) Stonington Board of Education member. Brown has had a contentious relationship with the residents concerning the possible town hall expansion, PZC appointments, and lack of leadership in the Pawcatuck Streetscape project. Haberek who is a Ph.D. candidate in Business administration and College Professor in Business has been a very active in some significant projects in the town. Haberek’s campaign has been very enthusiastic & popular and he has many state leaders assisting him on the campaign trail including Maynard, Wyman, Nappier, Bysiewicz and Blumenthal. Keep a watch on this one as it can turn Democrat.

  17. Bristol’s mayoral race is shaping up to be a 3-way between Democrat Ellen Zoppo, Republican Ken Johnson and Liebercrat DINO Art Ward. Ward is running in the Democratic primary but has also petitioned onto the ballot as an “independent”.He’s taking a page from his hero Joe Lieberman’s play book.

  18. Here’s Ed Haberek’s site. Also Ellen Zoppu-Sassu.

    Will be interesting to see if Jim Wyskiewicz can turn New Britain’s overwhelming Democratic voter registration to his advantage.

  19. Meriden, might have an interesting twist here…….A new independent third party called “We the People”. Apparently this is a serious attempt at a third party and according to the SOS will be listed this Nov on the ballots.

    Meriden has some of the highest property taxes in the state. At this point almost 600 homes for sale, and a thriving downtown any third world country would be proud of. Meriden also has been in the grip of Democratic control since the last Ice Age. Currently all 12 city councilors are Democrats as well as the Mayor.

    As I look at many of the names associated with this “new party” I am struck by how many involved up to now have been Republicans.

    I am probably wrong here but maybe it has finally dawned on the Republicans in Meriden that if any of them ever stand any chance of getting elected in that city, the first thing they need to do is not call themselves Republicans…..

  20. I think a Blue Moon is on the rise in Windham

    — and by Blue I mean Red if you catch my drift….

  21. Is Dina Weissman For Real

    Lets examine the Democratic challenger for Mayor Ms. Weissman. She was elected as a Republican when Alan Schlesinger came in to office in the 1990’s.

    As you know in 2007 Alan Schlesinger thinks he is the Mayor again. For if you don’t know he runs the money part of the City of Derby now.

    She was quickly made President of the Board of Alderman.
    It just seems that if you run as a Republican in a small city like Derby first you are a true believer in a city of Democrats. Secondly as a true believer in the Republican agenda how could you switch parties?

    Well the answer my friends is simple. Dina Weissman is an opportunist. She took the Chief of Staffs job created under Mayor Garofalo and that cost the city at this point over $70,000 a year for nothing.

    She has moved where the money took her and came back from another state in 2006 when the money was on the table. Check out her own website and she even tell’s you she move back in 2006 after not living here for years. Now she is running for Mayor with no platform, a website with no substance and Marc Garofalo waiting for payback in the form of the same job he gave her.

    We hope John Orazietti sends her back to the other state she came from. I believe the race in November will be between Orazietti, Thompson and (Staffieri-Schlesinger). No one knows how this will work out even though they profess to be political prophets. So sit back relax and let the show begin, or should I say the Circus.

    Let the truth come out
    Joe Derby

  22. Sounds like wishful thinking to me John, if I recall the runner up in the first selectman’s race last time was from the Green Party. I don’t know about the rest of the elected offices, but to imagine Windham going Red seems like a stretch.

  23. Come one Come all to the Derby CT Democratic Circus
    Sept 11, 2007.
    Your Ringmaster is Dina Weissman for Mayor with the Republicans
    licking there Chops.

    After the race she will Dance with the Stars, Mr. Alan Schlesinger or is it her
    backer Marc Garofalo?

    I just went to the Homepage for the first time tonight of Dina Weissman for Mayor, you have to check out her MySpace area.
    She is plain crazy, she has Batman for a friend I am not kidding well check it out yourself. She is making a joke out of this election.
    What she is costing us taxpayers we could be spending it on our School kids.

    They also have a link to vote for her so we can all be part of her circus act.
    Here is her address for her MySpace, it connects to her Homepage.


    Please I beg you go back to the state you just came from and stay there for another five years. I am told they will pay you $75,000 to come back and start up your circus act. (that is a $5,000.0 raise over Derby)

    Let the truth come out
    Joe Derby

  24. How can Dina lose with a campaign theme from Jefferson Starship? Her commentary:

    TURN UP THE SPEAKERS!!! Cool, huh? Gets your head bobbing. Now we take it to the streets….

    Her literary inspirations:

    Reading “An American Tragedy” in high school first put the idea of being a lawyer in my head. It’s about a guy who plots how to kill his wife (or maybe she was his girlfriend, I dunno, I’m hazy on that part) and he starts to carry out the plan, but then she ends up dying in a different way. Is he guilty or innocent? Either read the book or email me for the gripping conclusion…

    On whom she’d like to meet:

    Derby Voters!! And Johnny Depp. Maybe not in that order.

    Her campaign site doesn’t actually reveal anything about her positions, but who needs them when you’re a rock n roll mayor!

  25. adamcs95

    Well Adam I would agree with you except that you must remember that blue moon does happen once every …. Blue Moon. All the signs are here it will make a re-appearance.

    Hey if we have a Republican incumbent mayor in Middletown than anything is possible.

    In 2005 the Green candidate did indeed win 2nd place but the Republican was not far behind which only proves that the Democrat incumbent is very weak. We have the same three people running again for First Selectman. In a three-way race Harry Carboni might win this time. I would not bet against it. The Democrat base is going to be badly split. Paulhus is weaker than two years ago.

    I am hopeful we can at least pick up a few extra seats on the 11 member Board of Selectman if not an outright majority. We have great people running. We dumped three RINOs incumbents that went along with Paulhus’ tax increases.

    We Republicans cleaned out house. The Dems can’t say the same.

    The Democrats have raised taxes over and over and over again including this year — an election year. My taxes went up by well over 500 bucks! I can’t afford that! How many people can? What the Dems are doing to the senior citizens on fixed incomes is criminal. They are stealing the American Dream.

    If people vote in the Democrats again they can expect another tax increase next year. I think people are starting to “get it” that the Democrats just don’t represent their interests. They need to be taught a lesson.

    The ethics situation is nothing short of discussing. The First Selectman blocks all the Republican nominees (including me) for the Ethics Board and voted in his sister in law. The chairman of the Ethics board is the sister in law of the chief elected official. Some watch dog she is. There are four Democrats on the board and one unaffiliated and zero Republicans. Paulhus pocket-vetos all Republicans that submit a letter of intent.

    And of course I am running for Selectman. How can we lose? Want a refrigerator magnet? I am ordering some today.

  26. Disgusting — not discussing.

    Stupid spell check.

  27. newlondoncalling

    I can accept shady deals between elected officials and contractors. I can deal with a state senator that appears to have mob ties. But some behavior is simply intolerable. Anyone who would listen to Starship’s “We Build this City” on purpose should be automatically disqualified from public office.

    Derby Democrats: do the right thing in September, and vote against Dina. An entire state is counting on you.

  28. And what if Derby isn’t built on rock and roll? What if, instead, it’s built on polka and thrash metal? THEN WHAT???

  29. You can see what happened the last time someone used that campaign theme.

  30. [quote comment=”18462″]You can see what happened the last time someone used that campaign theme.[/quote]
    That is wrong.

    And now that song is in my head. Nuts.

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